Sudden Move to Abolish PPSMI: Premature and Unfair

The abolition of the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, or PPMSI, is premature, as nine years is too short a time to assess the accountability of a project, says Aisha Ahmad, president of the Montessori Association of Malaysia and member of Parents Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE). 

"How do you measure, gauge and confirm accountability in a project which hasn't been allowed to finish? These children who have been studying [Science and Mathematics in English] for 8 to 9 years, are now being told to flip to another language," she said in an interview with BFM recently.

Earlier this morning, PAGE had submitted a letter of appeal to the Prime Minister, asking for PPSMI to remain as an option for children of government schools nationwide. It has been two years since PAGE first began campaigning against the abolition of the policy in 2009. PPSMI was first introduced in primary and secondary schools by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2003.

Since 2009, PAGE has sent seven memorandums to the government, to no avail.
Aisha says that learning Science and Mathematics in English would allow children a better chance of employability and more exposure in future. 

Asked about how rural children will be affected by PPSMI, she said "no child is unteachable", as all one needs is a good environment to immerse in the language. She says parents of rural schoolchildren have indicated that they want their children to continue learning the two subjects in English, and that suddenly reverting to Mathematics and Science being taught in Malay would be "unfair" for children and teachers "who have already gained momentum in thinking and learning in English".

One suggestion was to give students the option to learn Science and Mathematics in either English or Malay, which benefited not only children but gave teachers the satisfaction of teaching in both languages as well.
"What if they want to learn it in English -- what about those children? You're compelling a situation on them... To compel children to learn in a certain way just for the sake of a policy will do more damage to the child," she adds.

In the following interview with BFM, Aisha also talks about how PAGE will respond should the government spurn its communication efforts, how children have been affected by the flip-flopping of the PPSMI policy, as well as whether teachers should undergo more language training before being certified as teachers.

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