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Language-switch policy scrapped
The government has admitted that the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English has failed to meet its objectives and will be scrapped.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also education minister, said beginning 2012, the two subjects will be taught in Bahasa Malaysia at national schools.
As for national-type schools, the subjects will be taught in the respective mother-tongues. The policy was initiated by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2003, despite vocal protests.
Muhyiddin said the cabinet today approved the ministry's suggestion to revert to use of the Malay language and to strengthen the teaching and learning of the English language at all levels of schooling.
"This strategy was drawn up based on the study and monitoring carried out by the Education Ministry on the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English since the policy was implemented in 2003," he said at a press conference arranged to make this announcement.
The first batch of pupils who studied science and mathematics in the English language since Year One sat for their Ujian Penilian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination last year.
Reversion in stagesExplaining the mechanism, Muhyiddin said reversion to the Malay-language policy will be carried out in stages in Year One and Year Four in primary schools and Form One and Form Four in secondary schools beginning 2012.However, he said, the change will not involve students in Form Six and matriculation class.
In order to ensure that implementation does not affect the performance of students who have been taught the two subjects in English, the teaching and examination of the two subjects will be conducted in both languages up to 2014, to cover the final batch of students taught in English.
He said the government made the decision after scrutinising the findings of studies and surveys carried out on the teaching and learning of the two subjects in English. These have shown that implementation has left a lot to be desired.
Muhyiddin also said not all teachers have taught the two subjects fully in English, and that they have used a combination of English and Bahasa Malaysia.
"On average, English usage is between 53 and 58 percent of the total time allotted for science and mathematics," he said.
He also revealed that only a small group of mathematics and science teachers in secondary and primary schools who took the English- language Proficiency Level Evaluation test last year had attained the required standard.He said the percentage of students who scored grade A, B, and C for science in the UPSR last year had dropped from 85.1 percent to 82.5 percent in urban schools and from 83.2 percent to 79.7 percent in rural schools.
And for mathematics, the performance of urban schools dropped from 84.8 percent to 80.9 percent while the performance for rural students dropped from 80.9 percent to 77 percent.
The government has also decided to strengthen the teaching and learning of the Malay language and English at all school levels.
For this, the education ministry will implement comprehensive measures to enhance the command of both languages among students.
And in line with this, there will be a major transformation at primary and secondary school levels, in terms of focus on enhancing language skills among students.
"It will be implemented through an integrated, balanced and holistic modular approach. It will cover skills like listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as grammar and proficiency."
At primary school level, the Malay language curriculum will focus on fun learning and the appreciation of the language. "In secondary schools, the Malay-language curriculum will focus on appreciation of the Malay literature as well as bolstering the students' skills in grammar, reading, listening, writing, speaking and overall fluency."
The emphasis on Malay literature is to enrich the students' command of the language as an art, apart from demonstrating the Malaysian people's value system, culture and thinking," the minister said.
On the teaching and learning of English, he said the ministry will appoint an additional 13,933 language teachers - 1,000 from abroad, 600 who are retired and who will be re-employed and 12,333 from the Malaysian Institute of Teachers' Education, as well as from private and public institutions of higher learning.
"The ministry will also provide DG41 English assistant teachers for Year One and Year Two classes which have more than 35 pupils, to increase the contact time between teachers and pupils," he said.
The English period for Years 1-3 will be increased by 90 minutes a week to make it 330 minutes. For Years 4-6, there will be an additional 90 minutes a week to bring the total teaching period to 300 minutes.
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