Dr M: Public can debate PPSMI, Cabinet will decide on implementation

Acting education minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivers his speech at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre February 6, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Acting education minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivers his speech at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre February 6, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, Feb 6 — Putrajaya welcomes any differing opinion regarding the decision to teach Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) as the Cabinet weighs in on the issue, acting education minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The prime minister also said a committee has been set up to review the issue, citing strong public opinions on both sides of the matter.

“Public is welcome to give its opinions; they can write to the government. Media can write long articles condemning it. We are used to having people disagreeing with us.

“Parents and Teachers’ Associations as well as students too can write to us, we have no restrictions,” Dr Mahathir said in a press conference after a special address to Ministry of Education staff here.

On January 31, Dr Mahathir said it was crucial for the two subjects to be taught in English as that is the native language for both disciplines.

Dr Mahathir added that it was essential for education policies 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.

PPSMI was introduced in Year One in primary schools and Form One in secondary schools in 2003. However, it was abolished in 2013.

Dr Mahathir, who is the acting education minister, said that if implemented, the improved PPSMI will also alter the way lessons are taught, saying that teachers would no longer be fully relied on in the classroom.

Instead, lesson plans by language experts will be incorporated as well.

These will be conducted via videos with classroom teachers acting as a guide for the students.

“We found out that sometimes there are teachers who are not fluent in English.

“We will introduce a new way to teach using local and international experts who will produce these lessons and record them in videos to be shown to students.

“I still believe that without English, we will be left out of certain industries,” he said.

Earlier, in his special address to Education Ministry staff, Dr Mahathir brought up the point that PPSMI is designed to ensure the success and progress of the nation.

He pleaded that although Bahasa Melayu is the national language, English is paramount for development and for Malaysians to compete at an international level.

“I am Malay. I love my race and Bahasa Melayu. However, we need to take into consideration and pay attention to the development of our nation.

“In fact, if you love your nation, you should put the success and development of the country as priorities greater than the usage of your own (national) language,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Science and Maths can only truly be explored in English as developments in both fields are not static, while relevant journals are published mostly in English as well.

“Almost all (matters related to Science and Maths) are delivered in the English language. And knowledge related to Science is mostly in the English language.

“Although we can translate them into our own language, the terms used are not ordinary English words.

“Hence, the translation may not reflect their true meaning,” he said.

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