English medium schools should be revisited
Posted by page-azimah on December 31 2015 23:25:19
PAGE: Take baby steps towards better English standards
Mikha Chan
| December 30, 2015

Noor Azimah said that one of the options considered during PAGE’s involvement in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit’s (Pemandu) English Lab this year were English schools – an idea which the Ministry of Education was initially upbeat about, but later backed out of, once the recommendations were presented to the Prime Minister.

“This was more out of a lack of confidence in teachers to see this through successfully,” she noted. “Maybe this is not the time yet. We should revisit this idea later, maybe five years down the road.”
Extended News
PAGE: Take baby steps towards better English standards
Mikha Chan
| December 30, 2015

Malaysian teachers and students are not ready for single-stream education just yet, says the education group.

Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim

KUALA LUMPUR: It is not yet time for a single-stream education system, said Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim today.

She was commenting on the Sultan of Johor’s recent lament about the deteriorating standard of English among Malaysian youths, and his support of a single-stream education system.

“We’ve always advocated that our diversity is our strength. So what the Sultan is saying, well, I wouldn’t say it,” she said. “We should capitalise on our strengths.”

Noor Azimah said that one of the options considered during PAGE’s involvement in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit’s (Pemandu) English Lab this year were English schools – an idea which the Ministry of Education was initially upbeat about, but later backed out of, once the recommendations were presented to the Prime Minister.

“This was more out of a lack of confidence in teachers to see this through successfully,” she noted. “Maybe this is not the time yet. We should revisit this idea later, maybe five years down the road.”

She pointed to the recently announced Dual Language Programme (DLP), which was announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak during the tabling of Budget 2016 that will be introduced in 300 schools next year.

Under the DLP programme, schools will be given the option to teach Science, Mathematics, Information Technology and Communication, as well as Design and Technology in English or Bahasa Malaysia.

“The MOE is quite confident about it (DLP), as are we. We think it is a good step towards bilingual proficiency, before we move on to more daring ideas like independent schools.

“It’s better to take it gradually, rather than go full-blown like the PPSMI, which eventually had to be aborted,” she added, referring to the previous education policy of teaching Maths and Science in English.

“I think the MOE has learned its lesson and is now taking baby steps.”

Azimah acknowledged the inevitable resistance such progress would face, as the PPSMI policy had previously faced.

“It was only two subjects back then! I think we’ll be hitting a brick wall. Even with this Dual Language Programme, we’re having such problems with the Malay ultra-nationalists. With the PPSMI, we had problems with the Chinese ultra-nationalists,” she pointed out.

“This time the Chinese haven’t been so outspoken, maybe because (Chinese education group) Dong Zong has got their own internal problems. Which is a blessing for us, but the Malay ultras are still hitting hard on this programme. It’s not even a policy, it’s just a programme which you can opt for.

“So, if the Sultan thinks he can appease them (the ultras), then by all means.”

Noor Azimah stressed that she was not against the Sultan’s idea, and suggested Johor implement English medium schools with the permission of the MOE.

“It can be a pilot (project) there. I think it’s not impossible. Start somewhere, and if the Sultan himself is pro-English, I don’t see why you can’t try,” she said.

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