No takers in non-DLP class

According to the school, there are 400 students in Form One at SMJK Chung Ling. They all want to study Science and Maths in English.

The Education Ministry’s directive that at least one class of these subjects must be taught in Bahasa Malaysia for schools wishing to implement the Dual Language Programme is a problem.

Foo Wan P’ng, secretary of the Chung Ling Board of Directors, said that all parents prefer both subjects to continue being taught in English like in the DLP.

He said that some parents were concerned about the impact of this requirement on their child’s academic performance.

Foo was one of 11 SMJKs and Chinese secondary schools from Penang who were against the new directive that required at least one class to be set up to teach Science and Maths in BM as a pre-requisite for the DLP.

Parents and school board members urged the Education Ministry not to implement the directive. They said that there would be no one interested in Science and Math being taught as part of BM.

The DLP criteria for Penang Chinese Girls High School was set by the Ministry of Education. This included that at least 20 students must be in a classroom where Science and Maths are taught.

Laeu Boon-Hui, the PTA president of SMJK Jit Sin Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), said that there are approximately 1,100 students at the school.

He said that, “Based on the results of our survey 99.5% parents did not approve of these two subjects being taught as part of BM.”

SMJK Chung Ling Board Chairman Datuk Seri Koay Hean En, who spoke for the 11 SMJK schools and Chinese schools, stated that a letter dated April 15, from the Penang Education Department, showed that DLP schools had to include a non-DLP mandatory class as part the criteria of implementing the programme.

The circular was sent by the Education Ministry to 36 primary schools and 52 secondary school in Penang, he said.

Koay said yesterday at a Penang Chinese Town Hall press conference in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling that the implementation of the non-DLP classes using BM has caused confusion and affected the students psychologically.

He said that the DLP policy ignored the wishes of parents and was in direct opposition to the original intent of the DLP which was to better equip students with STEM skills.

The DLP in Science & Mathematics ensures students’ continuity when they continue their tertiary studies, and also increases their competitiveness on the international stage.

Koay said that if the Education Ministry wants to improve students’ Malay proficiency, it should review the language’s teaching methods and improve its syllabus, instead of using it for Science and Math.

He said that the schools have urged the Ministry to listen to them and to respect the wishes of parents, by returning to DLP’s original intent for Science and Mathematics.

Fadhlina SIDEK, the Education Minister of DLP Schools in December 2012, said that field visits conducted by her ministry revealed that DLP pupils did not possess a basic level in BM.

She said that schools who have accepted the DLP must make sure they meet all criteria, including mastery in BM.

As part of their criteria, full-DLP schools were told to include an obligatory non-DLP course starting this academic year.

However, stakeholders have pointed out that this was not included in the original guidelines of the Education Ministry Expert Circular Letter No. 3 of 2020: Improve the DLP Implementation Guideline for 2021.

The DLP was announced in the Budget 2016 to improve English language proficiency in students by teaching Science and Mathematics and Science in English, and to increase their employability.

This was an initiative under the Upholding the Malay Language & Strengthening the English Language policy (also known as MBMMBI in Malay).

The Education Ministry responded that it is following guidelines stated in the March circular.

The new academic session that begins in 2024/2025 will require that at least one class per Year and Form be taught Science and Mathematics using BM as the medium of instruction.

It added that “Schools implementing DLP must make sure to provide opportunities to students who wish to study Science or Mathematics in their mother tongue or national language.”

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