LETTER | The National Education Reform Initiative (IPPN) is of the opinion that the suggestion to re-instate the "Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris" (PPSMI) by the acting Education Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a regressive move.
The PPSMI initiated in 2003 and was subsequently abolished in 2012 after various studies showed that it was not able to achieve its intended goal.
Studies had revealed that out of 7,000 schools, only five percent followed the PPSMI policy while the rest had conducted their lessons in dual language or in Bahasa Melayu.
According to a study by Pemuafakatan Badan Ilmiah Nasional (Pembina), PPSMI had caused massive disadvantage to 75 percent of students in the category of "low to average" standards in three subjects, English, Science and Mathematics.
Unesco studies revealed that the incidence of the number of under-achieving students at schools increased when classes are conducted in a language that is unfamiliar to the students compared with when classes are conducted in a familiar language.
In Malaysia, the familiar languages at primary level are Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Mandarin and Bahasa Tamil.
Unesco’s statement in 2003 alongside a policy paper in 2016 had iterated that conducting lessons in a mother tongue language had proven to be the effective medium for the first six years of schooling.
With that in mind, IPPN is of the opinion that the reinstatement of the PPSMI would be a regressive and contradicting move against the opinions of local and international scholarly and scientific studies.
Furthermore, IPPN proposes that, to ensure the success of our education system, the pedagogic capabilities of science, mathematics and English teachers must be prioritised and improved.
Finally, IPPN wishes to remind the Pakatan Harapan government that any intention to initiate changes in the education policy must be done based on evidence collected and correlated with qualified studies and not by perceptions and desires advanced by specific groups.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.