Monday 10 September 2012

PAGE responds to NST interview with DPM/Education Minister — Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, PAGE Chairman

Sept 10 — We read with interest NST’s Sunday Interview with the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) “Improving quality in all areas of education” (9 Sep 2012) in particular the response given to the question on the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English (PPSMI).

It appears that the DPM is more afraid that his ministry is seen as flip-flopping on the policy than its impact on our children and their future.

Although PAGE had representatives in most state dialogue sessions there were also even more supporters of the policy who are in favour of it to continue as an option, to be exact 250,000 online.

No doubt English proficiency is important, learning the scientific and mathematical knowledge, in its lingua franca which is English, our second language, should be capitalised on and not discouraged, a basic management strategy.

By abolishing the policy, the DPM is preventing many of our children from learning the knowledge in a language they are most comfortable with, a belief UNESCO has always advocated.

The objective of PPSMI is to learn the knowledge in science and mathematics and not to learn English. The DPM appears to have failed to understand this distinction.

In ignoring PPSMI in the blueprint, the DPM has failed to have a proper science policy in place to arrest the decline in the interest in science. The government has cautioned that of the 28 per cent of students who do proceed to higher education, only 17 per cent of these students pursue the science stream, and falling.

If it is the delivery method which failed the policy, then we must ask why it failed and how it can be corrected and improved upon. The answer is not to abolish it even more so after RM5 billion has been spent.

The government under the Prime Minister (PM) wants to bring the nation forward through 1Malaysia, science, technology and innovation but the policies of the DPM (specifically the abolition of PPSMI) are pushing the nation backwards in the acquisition of knowledge and in enhancing racial integration which is crucial for our continued success.

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