‘Adopt dual language approach in teaching Maths and Science’

By Hamidah Atan

PUTRAJAYA: Schools are encouraged to adopt a dual language approach in teaching Mathematics and Science to allow for a “soft landing” from 2012 when Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin or Tamil are used as the teaching language in Year One and Form One.

This approach, which allows the use of English or BM, will be carried out in stages beginning from 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Muhyiddin, who is the education minister, said many people were still unclear about this mechanism with regard to the teaching of
Science and Mathematics in BM.

“We have to adopt a softlanding approach so that the transition from the old policy to the new one can take place smoothly and does not shock our children in their learning process.”

The government recently decided to revert to the use of BM in the teaching of Science and Mathematics, instead of using English (a policy called PPSMI).

PPSMI was mooted by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2003.

The scrapping of PPSMI will start in stages, beginning in 2012 for Year One, Year Four, Form One and Form Four. Form Six and matriculation students are not involved.

As for the soft-landing mechanism to implement the teaching of Science and Mathematics in BM, Muhyiddin said the two subjects would be taught both in English and BM in national schools and
in mother tongue languages in vernacular schools from
next year.

“Dual languages will be implemented in the teaching and learning of the two subjects for Year Four in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Year Five in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and Year Six in 2014, 2015 and

He said students sitting Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) would be provided options to answer questions either in English or BM till 2016.

“Teaching and learning of the two subjects for Form Four in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and Form Five in 2013, 2014 and 2015 will also be conducted in the two languages.

“Therefore, questions for Science and Maths in Sijil Pelajaran
Malaysia (SPM) examination will continue to be set in BM and English till 2015.”

Muhyiddin stressed that the government would allow the present cohorts of students affected or “trapped“ by the change in policy to study the two subjects in both BM and English.

“If you are wellversed in English, then answer the exam questions in English, or vice-versa.”

On the call by Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI that the policy to teach Science and Mathematics in BM be implemented immediately, he said the government could not afford to rush into doing things as this
could affect the students badly.

“If they are the education ministers, they can decide whatever they want to do, but this demand shows they fail to understand the reality of managing the education system.

“I am responsible to the rakyat and I do not want negative repercussions affecting our children’s education later.

“There are just lots of things we have to do now to ensure
the policy is a success, like getting teachers, having more language labs, a strong English curriculum and so on.


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