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Friday, January 31, 2020

Are we ready to teach Maths, Science in English, asks NUTP

The ability of teachers to teach Maths and Science in English is among the concerns raised.
PETALING JAYA: A teachers’ union has urged Putrajaya to review problems that surfaced when it first implemented the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) following the prime minister’s announcement that the two subjects would be taught in English.
The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) also said it was “unreasonable” for such a policy to be implemented this year.
“We urge the education ministry to look into the complications that arose when they first implemented the PPSMI in 2002, especially in terms of training the teachers and other types of preparations needed.
“This is to ensure that such problems will not recur,” NUTP president Aminuddin Awang told FMT.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said English would be the medium of instruction for the teaching of Science and Mathematics again in a bid to promote the use and mastery of the language.
Mahathir, who is also the acting education minister, stressed the importance of mastering the English language and added that the two subjects were not “indigenous” to Malaysia.
Aminuddin said while he understood the government’s intentions to improve the command of English among the public, he felt such a policy would make it uncomfortable for teachers.
“Until the past problems, especially in terms of the preparedness of teachers and teaching tools, are resolved, it is not viable to reintroduce the policy.”
The PPSMI policy, which was aimed at improving students’ command of English, was dropped in 2012 amid strong protest.
The government’s plan to reintroduce it in schools had teachers and Malay advocacy groups up in arms previously.
Former deputy education minister P Kamalanathan echoed similar concerns as NUTP.
The MIC education bureau chairman said the reasons why the policy was reversed the first time should be studied thoroughly and the policy should only be implemented when all shortcomings and gaps had been overcome.
Among the main obstacles, he noted, was the fact that Science and Maths teachers “weren’t proficient enough in English to deliver their subjects effectively”.
“We can’t have English teachers teaching Maths and Science but we need teachers who are Science and Maths graduates to teach well in English,” he said in a statement.
He also urged for greater engagement with stakeholders to ensure they see the importance and relevance of the policy and embrace the change.
Kamalanathan, however, said it was definitely a step forward in ensuring students were equipped to succeed in a world where English and science were important factors in the growth of a nation. - FMT

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