PAGE (Parent Action Group for Education), Ipoh Chapter has succeeded in influencing the government to permit PPSMI (Teaching of Maths and Science in English) as an option until 2016. However, Dato’ Dr Anwar Hassan, Coordinator PAGE, informed a meeting of parents recently that they did not succeed in getting Government approval to their various requests on issues around education as highlighted by parents.
He stressed that future direction is in our hands and we should not let anyone mess around with our children’s education. In this regard a presentation was organised on the ‘Just English’ programme.
Tang Kok Keong, Business Development Manager, Educational Assessment and Testing Services (EATS) explained that the Just English E-Learning Programme has been introduced to private and semi-government schools and tuition centres. These are structured English language programmes to improve the student’s command of English.
Tang said that EATS arranges for students to sit for the International Competition and Assessment for Schools Exams (ICAS) which are conducted once a year by University of New South Wales, Australia worldwide. Exams are conducted for English, Science, Maths and other subjects. The fee is RM30 per subject. The exam compares student’s performance at international level.
Mithran, an Education Strategist from Parent Alert spoke on a home self-tutorial programme of core school subjects in the Malaysian school curriculum. Currently 180 schools are participating in this programme.
The aim of PAGE is to introduce to parents the educational opportunities that are available for their children. It is sad to note that only about 20 parents attended.
PAGE (Parent Action Group for Education) Ipoh Chapter organised a forum at the Andersonian’s Club Cafeteria to discuss the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025. Dato’ Dr Anwar, Co-ordinator of Ipoh Chapter said that since the Education Ministry was not willing to have a public dialogue in Ipoh to discuss the report, PAGE has organised this forum.
Liong Kam Chong, a retired secondary school principal who was the guest speaker, explained the education blueprint in relation to Teaching of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI). He said there was not much of a problem with the high ranking officers in implementing the policy of soft landing of PPSMI. The problem was with the principals of the schools who set the policy in their schools. When principals are transferred there is a change in the policy. He added there were basically three categories of parents; English speaking families, those starting to speak English and those who trust the system.
Dr Anwar said that he was disappointed with the blueprint which omitted a number of important issues. Page Ipoh Chapter seeks to have the following proposals seriously considered by the Ministry of Education in finalising the preliminary blueprint.
- Reinstate PPSMI or at least provide provision for it.
- Establish permanent PPSMI schools.
- Reinstate English-medium schools.
- Moral Education should remain compulsory, but it should cease to be an examination subject.
There was a call that PAGE must be more aggressive and to show its disappointment, copies of the Report must be publicly burnt at various places in the country to attract the attention of the public, media and the authorities.
It was sad to note that in spite of the wide publicity given about the forum only about 50 parents turned up.
The popular Andersonian Club here was a hive of activity when PAGE (Parent Action Group for Education) Ipoh Chapter organised a dialogue entitled “ PPSMI: The Never Ending Quest”. Hundreds of parents showed up to support the move that the PPSMI policy needs to be reviewed by the Ministry of Education.
Datin Noor Azimah, Chairman of PAGE Malaysia spoke on the topic.
Datin Azimah started by explaining the reason for the formation of PAGE Malaysia. Furthermore, she stressed that PAGE might be fighting a losing battle when it comes to PPSMI. However, with the support of the various non-government organisations and individuals the PPSMI issue is therefore a “ play it safe” right of the parents. She noted that the biggest challenge facing parents is the fact that many schools are resisting co-operating, and they do not adhere to the Education Ministry’s advice. Therefore she emphasized that the Education Ministry must look into these problems and ensure that there are proper mechanisms to ensure that PPSMI is on-going.
Mr Soong Kok Hong, Chairman of Malaysian Employers Federation Perak Branch, emphasized that English is an indispensable tool that will enable us to achieve our aspirations for the 21st century. Thus, fluency and knowledge in English will enable us to prevail against many of the challenges posed by the effects of globalisation. He stressed that English has the largest number of speakers in the world and, in addition, most books and other resources are written in English. All professionals such as human resource personnel, accountants, doctors, engineers and others must have a strong base in English to further their careers. He noted that many of our young candidates are unable to speak or write in English, causing them to lose out in the international market.
This dialogue also gave the opportunity to the moderator, Datuk Dr Anwar Hassan to propose appeals from PAGE Ipoh Chapter that include the following:
- To allow PPSMI option to be given to Standards 1 and 2 students and to set up PPSMI classes for positive responses by a minimum number of 30 students.
- Declare names of Primary and Secondary National Schools in Perak offering PPSMI – each PPD to make a public list of such schools as undertaken by PPD Petaling Utama, Selangor.
- Make readily available English texts for Science and Mathematics in ALL National Schools offering PPSMI.
- Designate a cluster of permanent PPSMI schools for boys and girls in each district of Perak.