Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SEPARATE and UNEQUAL EDUCATION?

Why can Mara teach Maths and Science in English?



G Vinod

Free Malaysia Today
August 10, 2011


The government wants to abolish the teaching of Maths and Science in English next year but Mara junior colleges will teach the subjects in English under the Cambridge programme.

PETALING JAYA: Even Mara understands the importance of English. Their junior colleges have decided to offer Cambridge programme, said Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page).
Page chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said in a statement this showed that even Mara, which largely caters for rural Malays, understood the importance of the English language.

On Saturday, Bernama reported that Mara would be offering the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education programme, equivalent to an O-Level certificate, at all 45 Mara Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) in Malaysia by 2016.

Currently, Mara director-general Ibrahim Ahmad said, the programme is being offered at the Tun Adbul Razak MRSM in Pekan, Pahang.

He added that the programme, which has 180 students currently, would provide additional certificates for students to pursue their education abroad.

Lauding Mara for being far-sighted, Azimah said this showed that even Mara, an agency under the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, did not agree with the abolishment of PPSMI (the teaching of Maths and Science in English).

“And they obviously bypassed the Education Minister’s (Muhyiddin Yassin) decision.Even rural Malay parents understand the importance of the English language as MRSM caters for rural students,” said Azimah.

While Mara was advancing itself with the Cambridge programme, Azimah said, the Education Ministry was taking a step backwards by abolishing PPSMI.

“And the reversal was decided without understanding the reason behind the poor command of English among our students. Muhyiddin himself admitted that he is clueless on it. So would the reversal help us to attain the desired standard of English proficiency?” asked Azimah.
She then called upon the government to reinstate PPSMI in national schools in order to create a level playing field among Malaysian students.

Whether she would call for the Cambridge programme to be offered in national schools, Azimah said it would be a dream come true if the government were to allow it.

“I believe they’re offering the programme in MRSM as it only involves 45 colleges which is easier to manage. The least the government could do for national schools is to reinstate PPSMI,” she said.
In 2009, Muhyiddin abolished PPSMI and announced Science and Maths would be taught in Malay effective 2012, in a move widely seen as to appease Malay language nationalists.
The PPSMI project, mooted by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was implemented in 2003 to address the declining proficiency of the English language among students.

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