PETALING JAYA: Rural students are the biggest losers from the government’s decision to stop the teaching of science and mathematics in English, according to the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE).
PAGE chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said rural students, especially Malays, would end up speaking only Malay because they would have no context in which to apply English.
She questioned the wisdom of the decision, saying Malaysia was going against the tide when “countries all over the world are pushing for English”. She said she was now convinced that Barisan Nasional was not the right party to govern the nation.
She was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s latest statement on the scrapping of PPSMI (the Malay abbreviation for the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English). Muhyiddin, who is the Education Education, said today that the decision was final.
“Through PPSMI, the kids would have had an opportunity to practice the language,” Noor Azimah said.
Muhyiddin said the government would go ahead next year with its MBMMBI (Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening the English Language) policy, which would cover a “soft landing” programme for students currently studying science and mathematics in English.
He derided PAGE and other supporters of PPSMI for “being out of touch”, saying the decision to abolish the programme had been made in 2009.
Noor Azimah retorted that PAGE had been fighting to keep PPSMI in the system for “the last three years”.
“I think he is out of touch,” she said.
She also said, without elaborating, that PAGE would “support” students hit by the policy change, especially those currently in Primary 3 and Secondary 3.
“They have the right to finish science and mathematics in English under the soft landing.”
Noor Azimah claimed that next year’s MBMMBI syllabus was not new, but a direct translation of the current PPSMI texts.
In an earlier statement, PAGE said national test scores improved following the introduction of the PPSMI in 2003.
Citing the Millenium Development Goals 2010 report, it said both rural and urban students had benefited from PPSMI.
“They (rural students) all showed improvements in English, no reduction in Bahasa Malaysia, and improvements in Science and Mathematics in the last few years,” it said.
Through an online petition initiated by PAGE, more than 100,000 parents have protested against the scrapping of PPSMI.