Sunday, August 9, 2009

PPSMI: Government bars PIBG meeting

The parent-teacher associations or, in its Malay abbreviation, PIBG, are very special-purpose amalgamation of parents whose children attend a particular school. The agenda of PIBG meetings range from the mundane to the minutiae. PIBGs are ever so grateful when a few crumbs are thrown by the Ministry of Education to their school. PIBGs are the fountain of funds from which teachers can do some of their school activities much better. It's all pastel-like and peachy almost all the time. This is the way it is when your children's interests are at stake.

In this context, when a PIBG wants to meet in order to canvass views on the teaching of Mathematics and Science in the English language (or PPSMI, to use the Malay abbreviation), how subversive is it to the Government? Is it wrong for parents to organise themselves and offer their views in a very considered and constructive manner?

Or, does the Government now believe that PIBGs have become a potential grouping that is subversive?

Will this be another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic behaviour of the current Administration where one over-zealous lesser official such as, say, Rais Yatim, goes on an assault on the cyberspace and, the senior official then pulls back the assault as if it never took place?

I just want to say to no one in particular that one should always pick and choose the opponent and issue in any game. But, in the game of education, the last opponent one should choose are the parents, especially the PIBG. One cannot find a grouping that is more benign and law-abiding.

And, yet, the Mr. Hyde nature of the Government has surfaced to slam the gates of SMK Sri Hartamas shut in the faces of the PIBG who merely wanted to have a meeting to canvass views on the position that the school should take on the issue of PPSMI. What gives, Najib? I hate to ask this, but, how does the Ministry of Education's action to shut the school gates on the PIBG of a school fit into 1Malaysia? Parents are starting to ask...

Here's the Malaysiakini report:

Parents of SMK Seri Hartamas students are fuming over a directive to bar a meeting to voice their opposition over the reversal of the policy to use English as the medium of instruction for science and mathematics.

The Parents-Teachers Association's (PTA) extraordinary general meeting was supposed to have been held in the school compound this morning, but the Education Department, through the school, had ruled the meeting null and void.

As the decision was handed orally to the PTA late yesterday afternoon, many parents were not informed and gathered at the school gates, only to be disappointed.

Though unable to hold the meeting, the parents were however able to witness one agenda of the intended EGM, which was to count ballots slips from parents stating whether they wanted the teaching of science and mathematics to continue in that school.

Of the 553 ballots counted, an overwhelming 97 percent were in favour. A total of 1,310 ballot slips were issued to students to hand over to their parents.

PTA president Salmah Abu Bakar (photo, left)said the results of the poll would be forwarded to the prime minister and education minister along with an appeal.

"We want to tell them that the teaching of science and mathematics in English is good for this school. We want to be exempted," she said.

Salmah said many parents sent their children to this school because of its high standard of teaching in English, thus the PTA wants status quo maintained.

'EGM by the book'

PTA deputy president Azimah Abd Rahim said the EGM was called "by the book" and there was no reason for the authorities to bar the meeting.

"We understand that PTAs in many schools nationwide want to hold similar EGMs and they are facing the same problems. We hope they would be allowed to do so," she said.

According to Azimah, there was no written instruction stopping them from holding the meeting and teachers did not take part in the PTA's activity today.

PTA committee member Mazidah Mohd Zin said she was worried that her child who had learnt science in mathematics in primary school, would have to revert to Bahasa Malaysia just two years before sitting for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

She is concerned that her child would have problems adjusting in such a short period of time and is hopeful that the government would consider the PTA's appeal.

Another parent, Yee Li Li, said that she has two children in the school, and the youngest, now in Form 1, had urged her to act as she had already undergone six years of primary schooling in English for the two subjects.

"I'm representing my daughters who themselves are opposed to the language switch," she said.


Non-partisan said...

I wonder how the PIBG of the school is going to function after this shameful act.

Will there be any more mutual trust and harmony between the school and the parents after the association has been treated no better than the proverbial anti-establishment NGO?

I pity the innocent students as well as the teachers who have no other choice but to carry out the order.

clearwater said...

I have not heard anything more high handed and ridiculous from this inept government and its minions. Banning a PIBG meeting? Is that how they engage parents with divergent views from the official line? How subversive are parents concerned about their childrens education? Now they have got hundreds of parents hopping mad. They may not take to the streets but they sure will exercise their vote next GE. Vote for a smarter and more caring administration, not a dumb authoritarian government that cannot handle dissent.

Anonymous said...

Samy Vellu says it should be in Tamil

mamasita said...

Shameful and treat the PIBG in that disrespectful manner is totally unacceptable.
Now we parents are not allowed to express our views??

Anonymous said...

Well next time you (parents)will know who to vote for. Tell that to your children as well, they are nation future potential voters!
This current govt. does not believe in listening to the voice of the rakyat, they have all become deaf!