KUALA LUMPUR — The government’s decision to end the teaching of Mathematics and Science (PPSMI) in English in schools is final and as such, all polemics on the matter should stop, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the ministry would not bow to pressure from any quarters to have the PPSMI reinstated.
He said tomorrow he would explain in detail how the new policy replacing the PPSMI, the MBMMBI (Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening the Command of English), would be implemented, particularly the soft landing transition following the government’s decision to do away with the PPSMI.
“The Cabinet in 2009 decided that the PPSMI would be discontinued. Tomorrow, we will address one by one the concerns of parents and how to handle this problem in future,” he told reporters after holding a meeting with SMR HR Group’s English language teachers here today.
On calls by various quarters including Page (Parent Action Group for Education) to the government to allow schools to decide whether to stick to the PPSMI or opt for the new policy, Muhyiddin said it was up to the people to judge them.
Earlier in his speech, Muhyiddin said, despite raging debate on PPSMI, he believed that the master teacher approach was one of the best initiatives to improve proficiency in English for both teachers and pupils in this country.
Muhyiddin said based on interaction and feedback from various quarters as well as his counterparts from other countries, similar opinions were gathered that proficiency in English could only be obtained by studying the language and not to learn the language through the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science.
He said with several initiatives that were introduced such as improving the English syllabus in schools, bringing in teachers speaking in the native language and placing them throughout the country as master teachers besides upgrading the support system such as language laboratories, which would be expanded nationwide, could boost and improve students’ proficiency of English in Malaysia.
The SMR has an English Language Training (ELT) Mentor’s Training Project aimed at helping Malaysian primary school teachers teaching years 1, 2 and 3 to improve their effectiveness in English language teaching to their charges.
According to SMR Group chief executive officer, Datuk R. Palan, over the last ten months, 120 mentor teachers from all over the world have had the opportunity to work with local teachers.
The mentors, who hail from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, South Africa and European countries, had been recruited on the basis of their native English competency, educational and ESL qualification and direct classroom experience, he said.