Dr M announces return of English medium for Science and Maths

Acting education minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says it is crucial for the two subjects to be taught in English as that was the native language for both disciplines. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Acting education minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says it is crucial for the two subjects to be taught in English as that was the native language for both disciplines. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The Education Ministry will revive the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics using the English language, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

The prime minister and acting education minister shared a video of his meeting with ministry officials yesterday when he made the announcement.

There, he said it was crucial for the two subjects to be taught in English as that was the native language for both disciplines.

Dr Mahathir added that it was essential for education policy to be geared towards equipping students with the necessary skills to be productive in their adult lives, and to consider Malaysia’s multiracial and multicultural background.

“We must promote the mastery of English in our education system — this is very important — that we must give time for learning English, in particular in the learning of Science and Mathematics,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said it was less critical to expand the policy to subjects such as Geography and History as these did not have an “indigenous language”.

The video did not contain any of the prime minister’s remarks on when the policy will be put in place.

The policy for teaching Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) was among Dr Mahathir’s final policies before he left office as the fourth prime minister.

It was pioneered in 2003 to mixed reactions before being eventually implemented at all stages of the national school system in 2007.

However, it was dismantled by the previous Barisan Nasional administration in 2012.

The education minister at the time, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, introduced a replacement policy to “Uphold Bahasa Malaysia and to Strengthen the English language” (MBMMBI).

Detractors of the reversal alleged that MBMMBI was meant to appease Malay nationalists ahead of the 13th general election.

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