I attended the PTA EGM of my sons’ school at St. Xavier to better understand the situation. As you know, the teachings of Science and Mathematics used to be in English until they change it around 1970s when I entered Standard One. So, students like me used to study them in Bahasa Malaysia. Then, around the time when my eldest son was in Form Three, all my three children who were school going had to switch to English during Tun M’s time.
When our DPM who is also the Education Minister took over, he tried to change the policy again. Initially, it was a very silly idea of asking the students whom had studied from Std One to Form Three to switch to Bahasa Malaysia at Form Four. Meanwhile, for the primary school, the children have to study from Std One to Std three in English and switch to BM in Std. Four. Both my younger children are going to be affected by this policy which I believe was made without forethought and more to do with garnering popularity.
However, the Education Minister changed his mind again and now, the policy allows both my children to finish their school years learning in English. Yet, those students who are going to enter Primary One in 2012, are going to use BM again.
So, parents all over Malaysia have come together to ask the Education Minsiter to reconsider. During one of the interviews I had with CM Lim Guan Eng, he gave some suggestions that in urban areas like Penang, we can actually have different streams of school since there are schools in the same locality. For example, English and Bahasa Malaysia. Parents can opt for the children to either study Science and Mathematics in English or Bahasa Malaysia. This way, it will not affect children in rural schools where their grasp of the language is not good due to lack of exposure to English.
To those of you who have young children and are concerned with their education, do take the proactive step of voicing out your opinions through the proper channel. There is an action group call PAGE – Parents Action Group for Education. They made a very revealing video on why Science and Mathematics in the English medium should continue.
Watch the PAGE video, share it with your friends and if you are from the urban schools and support the PPSMI, do what the other schools have done. Pass a resolution after voting, give the memorandum to the Education Minister. PAGE has drawn out the step by step guide and also prepared the forms for schools PTA to distribute. PAGE website is here.