EDUCATION Minister Fadhlina Sidek must engage parents and civil society organisations in a session to address the concerns over the ministry’s abrupt plans to make changes to the Dual Language Programme (DLP), said an MCA Youth leader.
Citing a recent memorandum submitted by the Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) to the 31 Cabinet ministers requesting that the teaching of Mathematics and Science in schools in the Malay medium should not be made mandatory, MCA Youth secretary-general Saw Yee Fung said MOE should honour the wishes of the parents.
“The proposed changes have stirred confusion among students, parents and teachers alike. We also call on newly-minted Deputy Education Minister Wong Kah Woh to arrange for the Education Minister to meet up with civil society bodies and the affected parents and students soonest possible,” she said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 16).
Recall that immediate past deputy education minister Lim Hui Ying had previously insisted that there would be no changes to the policy of teaching Mathematics and Science in English.
“However, subsequent developments prove her assurances are inconsistent with ministry directives. Hence, Wong needs to mediate proactively and concretely,” Saw continued.
“Considering that PAGE had submitted the memorandum last week, the MOE and the unity government should not turn a blind eye and overlook this issue.”
Saw stressed that MCA’s position remains that the MOE needs to retain the four original conditions to hold the DLP so that schools that qualify and are already teaching Mathematics and Science entirely in English should be allowed to continue doing so.
The DLP guidelines had spelled out four criteria for a school to apply for the DLP, namely that the school must have adequate resources to implement the programme; the headmaster must have an implementation plan for it; parents or guardians must consent to it; and the school must achieve the required grade in Bahasa Melayu.
“The decision whether the teaching of Mathematics and Science for these schools is to be switched to the Malay medium should not be left to the state Education Department,” Saw added.
“There ought not be a need to turn to the respective state Education Departments to decide on policies which the MOE has the authority to determine. Reliance on the state Education Departments in relation to the DLP will only add to divisions and confusion.”
Saw further urged the MOE to allow schools that have implemented the DLP for the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English to “exercise their own discretion”.
She argued that to coerce the opening of at least one class to teach Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) “opens room for students to feel being discriminated against and is an injustice as the criteria to identify and select students to switch to these classes remain unclear.
“Furthermore, common sense and logic dictate that strengthening a student’s BM language skills begin with BM language classes, and certainly not from Mathematics and Science,” she opined. – Jan 16, 2024
Main pic credit: Daily Express Malaysia