Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Phasing Out PPSMI Is Unwise

The Education Minister backed out from his hardened stand and relented, giving existing students their right to continue studying Mathematics and Science in English until they leave school. This, however, failed to address the core issue of providing the English option to children enrolling in schools for the first time and PAGE pledge to continue to pressure the government for this right to choose and I am in full support. Freedom to choose is a fundamental human right when such choice is pre-existing. Why is it removed? Certainly the lame excuse that PPSMI has failed after being applied for 9 years is unacceptable. You don't blame a good policy for its failure, if indeed it hasn't delivered the desired results. You blame on poor execution and lack of determination to make it work. On this I put the blame squarely on the flip flop manner the education ministry manage the future of our children.

My family are all English educated and with grandchildren starting to go to school from next year I insist they be given the right to decide which language stream to follow. Yes, yes, they have to pass Bahasa Malayia in school exams. That is not negotiable but aside from that coming from a very multiracial country like ours, rights to multilingual education must be offered. When there is demand, supplies will naturally come forth. Likewise when more parents want their children to study English or Mandarin (these are global languages) demand for such teachers will naturally lead to more graduates learning such languages as a career. In the short term the need to import teachers should be considered. But to abandon English is irresponsible although under the new MBMMBI policy the proposal to give greater emphasis to the study of English has been promised. Personally I disagree that learning a language as a subject will lead to its proficiency unless you study it for knowledge sake. To be proficient in a language one need to apply it in thinking, reading, speaking, debating and writing. To suggest that PPSMI will not let the students improve their command of English is wrong. The very fact that teachers and students interact in classes thinking, reading, explaining and replying in the study of Maths and Science in English provide excellent opportunity for a healthy growth in learning English simultaneously.

Yes, it is true that the Education Ministry be the ultimate authority to decide on the choice of medium of instruction for Maths and Science but wasn't that a done thing in 2003? Why the turnaround in 2009 soon after the current minister took over? Why disband a practice that have major impact on the lives of our children?

PPSMI must be continued as an option to give our children their career choice. The government cannot ransom its citizens against their wishes since it cannot guarantee their future.

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