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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pro-English group PAGE to hand over appeal to Najib on Monday

Pro-English group PAGE to hand over appeal to Najib on Monday

The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) is ever more determined to urge the Government to retain the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) as an option in primary and secondary national schools as the year draws to an end. We stand firm that PPSMI is for a better future for our children and for the country.

Parents are devastated and so are their children.

Unacceptable reasons

The reason given by the Deputy Prime Minister that if schools were left to choose the medium of instruction for these two core subjects, teachers would be in a mess, is unacceptable. After running this policy for nine years, all science and mathematics teachers, should be able to teach in either language so there is no shortage. If the number of schools that choose English are small, then it would be even easier to provide the teachers. The reasons should be addressed head-on and not swept under the carpet after spending RM3 billion of the rakyat’s hard earned income. We want an explanation.

The Government says, “We are listening to the rakyat”. You hear us but you are not listening to us.

The Government speaks of 1Malaysia but is yet to show us the 1Malaysia school. The education system has only succeeded in dividing children into race-based schools and now with the relaxation on international schools, dividing the children further through wealth ownership.

The Government speaks of, “People First”, but we feel that we are being treated as “Parents and their Children Last”. There are 5.4 million school-going children and just as many parents who are voters.

The Government says, “The days the Government knows best are over”, but it continues to force down inferior education policies on to our children.

The Government talks of an “education transformation” but literacy and numeracy has always been a basic responsibility of any government towards its people. NKEA is only a measurement of existing education policies and nothing more.

Educational transformation

PPSMI would have provided the educational transformation Malaysia so desperately needs. PPSMI proudly upholds Bahasa Malaysia where 60% (primary) and 53% (secondary, science stream) of subject hours remain in the national language. With MBMMBI, exposure to English falls by 50% to 20% of subject hours only, demolishing altogether any trace of scientific English, and replacing it with conversational English.

Why students have failed to grasp English proficiency the past three decades was because the system failed to provide the context to put the language into practice. With PPSMI it provided this very context which had been seen wanting in the learning process. PPSMI was not to learn English through science and mathematics.

PPSMI was to acquire the knowledge in science and mathematics in which its lingua franca is English. With the onset of the internet, 99.9% of scientific material is in English.

MOSTI, in a recent column, states, “The nation needs at least 50 research scientists and engineers (RSEs) per 10,000 working population. The country has been stagnated at about 29 RSEs per 10,000 workforces”.

We have an acute shortage of scientists. Sekolah Menengah Sains has fallen short of producing the desired number of scientists. It is time to fall back on other types of schools aside from residential schools. Day schools should be given the opportunity. PPSMI is the answer to a seamless transition towards advanced science.

Parents have the right to choose

Allow the PPSMI option. There will be enough teachers to go around. Double the allowance to teach these two core subjects in English.

80% of the population failed to be educated beyond SPM. 16% obtain diplomas while only the top 4% succeed in obtaining degrees and beyond. Developed countries achieve up to 80% of their population obtaining degrees and higher.

If the decision to abolish PPSMI was not political, then to give the option should not be political either, not having any impact on voting in the next general election.

If it is political, give us the PPSMI option in national primary and secondary schools, and we will give you the two-thirds majority, which you are making increasingly difficult for us to do. Do not make us give the opposition our vote.

PPSMI is not ‘flawed’. The Government made the right decision by introducing PPSMI and will continue to do the right thing if it allows the option.

We would not like the Najib administration to be remembered for abolishing PPSMI, for not regaining the two-thirds majority and for making our children yet another lost generation.

Supporters of PPSMI are urged to accompany PAGE tomorrow, Monday, 31 October 2011 at 10.31 am, in handing our last appeal to the Prime Minister at the public entrance of the Prime Minister’s Office, Perdana Putra, on the right hand side of the building. Bring your home made placards.

- PAGE

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