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MP SPEAKS | Two elite schools apply DLP, can govt ones follow suit?

MP SPEAKS | In seeking a Dual Language Programme (DLP) for Science and Mathematics, the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page) chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim made the following points in a letter to the editor of Free Malaysia Today on June 7.

“The Education Ministry released the so-called new and improved DLP guidelines - Surat Pekeliling Ikhtisas (SPI) Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (KPM) Bilangan (Bil) 5 Tahun 2024: Garis Panduan Pelaksanaan DLP dated March 19, 2024 - which has superseded all earlier guidelines.

“Clause 12.2.8 has been added to the new guidelines dictating that Year One and Form One must have one mandatory non-DLP class. Whether or not a parent desires it for their child is irrelevant. The parents’ wish, which is in the spirit of DLP, has been blatantly ignored and quashed. The minister’s wish overrides all others.

“Two elite schools, namely the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (the alma mater of the prime minister) and Tunku Kurshiah College (the alma mater of the prime minister’s wife) intend to ignore clause 12.2.8 and proceed with status quo as it has been from the start.

“The new guidelines explicitly exclude Sarawak, which gets to maintain its SPI KPM Bil 7 Tahun 2019: Pelaksanaan DLP Sarawak Mulai Tahun 2020.”

She further said that this has exclusively allowed all its primary schools to conduct DLP in full since 2020, which means that the medium of instruction for all science and mathematics classes is the English language.

Page chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim

“It is the only state where the education department, with the full support of the state’s education, innovation and talent development ministry (MEITD), has permission from the federal education ministry to do so.

“In March 2024, the Education Ministry ‘confirmed there are no plans to allocate more funds to conduct the DLP in the future’. MEITD, however, revealed in April that Sarawak had been given a budget of RM18 million for DLP,” she added.

Eyebrow-raised revelations

So far, the Education Ministry has neither confirmed nor denied what Noor Azimah said.

Few would begrudge the permission and special funding of RM18 million granted by the Education Ministry to Sarawak to conduct DLP classes for Science and Maths, as part of some degree of autonomy granted pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

What would raise eyebrows are Noor Azimah’s revelations that the two elite schools in Peninsular Malaysia producing the cream of the Malay government and corporate world intend to ignore the latest directive from the Education Ministry and conduct DLP classes for Science and Mathematics in English.

If that is the case, then is it possible for other government schools in Peninsular Malaysia to follow what these two elite schools have done?

Fair play and a level playing field can only lead to a rational and logical conclusion.

LIM GUAN ENG is DAP national chairperson and Bagan MP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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