“Using Maths & Science to improve mastery of Malay language akin to putting the cart before the horse”

MCA YOUTH has urged the Education Ministry (MOE) to retain the existing four guidelines for the implementation of the Dual Language Programme (DLP).

The party’s youth wing secretary-general Saw Yee Fung said schools that qualify to execute the teaching of Mathematics and Science entirely in English under the DLP should be allowed to do so uninterrupted.

“The respective state education departments should likewise retain the existing guidelines to hold DLP classes,” she added.

The existing four DLP guidelines for implementation are that schools are equipped with sufficient teaching resources, preparation is made by the principal and teachers, parental consent is obtained, and the school’s performance in the Malay language meets the national average standard.

However, schools that implement DLP are being made to provide at least one non-DLP class for students who want to study science and mathematics in Malay or their mother tongues.

Saw’s comment on the issue came after Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek had defended the policy change on the DLP on the basis of improving the students’ mastery of the national language as well as their mother tongues.

In addressing pushbacks against changes to the DLP implementation guidelines, Fadhlina also claimed that field visits found that some students in schools that implement the DLP are not mastering basic Malay or their mother tongues.

“[Fadhlina] seems to be trying to confuse the public. It has always been the position of all parties, including MCA and MCA Youth who voiced up on the DLP, to retain the existing guidelines,” Saw said in a statement today (Dec 22).

“Since the beginning, we have never flinched from our position that improving one’s mastery of the Malay language must commence from learning from the Bahasa Melayu (BM) subject, rather than improving one’s BM through Mathematics and Science.

Calling such logic “akin to putting the cart before the horse and fails to accomplish either”, Saw said Fadhlina needs to “cease confusing the need to retain the existing guidelines for the DLP with the lack in mastering BM and the mother tongue”.

“Such a move is a feeble attempt to lump all quarters who desire the continuation of the existing guidelines for the DLP with unwarranted charges,” she added.

Uphold parents’ wishes

Saw went on to note that schools that have opted for the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English have adhered with the four existing conditions and must have obtained prior parental consent.

“MOE should therefore uphold the wishes of the parents. The new policy now requires these schools to open at least one class to teach Maths and Science in the Malay medium,” she stated.

“To date, no answers are forthcoming to the questions from anxious parties:  How will the school screen and select students to be enrolled into classes which will teach Mathematics and Science in the Malay language after years of learning both subjects in English?”

Saw said while MCA Youth recognises the government’s noble intention to improve the students’ BM proficiency, MOE should refrain from simply resorting to any method which may not always be pragmatic.

“[MOE] should tackle problems according to the existing issue, rather than flogging a dead horse which yields no positive outcome. Ultimately, it will be the students who are tossed into the losing end,” she asserted.

“On one hand, the mastery of BM may not yield the desired results. On the other hand, the goal to enhance one’s abilities or interest in Maths and Science may similarly flop.” – Dec 22, 2023


Main pic credit: Malaysia Gazette

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