‘Rising preference for private schools’

Private schools are making a comeback, particularly in bigger towns.

The trend of affluent parents sending their children to such schools has now caught on with the middle class.

Those who cannot afford to send their children to international schools are sending them to private schools as they are more affordable.

The main reason for this trend is the uncertainty concerning the Dual Language Programme (DLP) in national schools.

Many parents, through Parent-Teacher Associations, have expressed support for the DLP to improve their children’s English proficiency through the teaching and learning of Science and Maths, while enhancing their global competitiveness and employability.

Many parents are becoming aware of the importance of English in their children’s education. In this highly challenging and competitive world, they believe their children will only have a chance to succeed in life if they are proficient in English, particularly in Science and Maths subjects.

As many schools shy away from the DLP, parents feel they have no alternative but to send their children to private schools.

When I was heading the academic unit of a school in the city, I made it a priority to accommodate the requests of parents.

Teachers who were proficient in English were asked to teach Science and Maths in the language.

Of the four Science classes, the DLP was implemented in two, while in the other two, students were taught bilingually with a mixture of English and Bahasa Malaysia.

It was a win-win solution for everyone. I too played my part in supporting the DLP by teaching Chemistry in English in my final years before retirement.

There is no running away from the importance of English in everyday life. If we keep denying it, we will only end up in a deeper rut.

We must empathise with students and their parents – what if we were in their shoes? The resources are available to ensure successful implementation.

It is pointless to have a degree if you can only converse in kindergarten-level English during job interviews. Such a candidate will lose out to someone with a lower qualification but higher proficiency in the language.

Besides the DLP issue, parents are opting for private schools as they prioritise teaching and learning. There is no deviation from the core mission of providing quality education.

Students also have more opportunities for hands-on learning, especially during laboratory lessons. Only through practical experience will one be able to understand and retain information better.

They are also trained to solve problems encountered in everyday life. Case studies and group discussions are aplenty, fostering the ability to think critically and provide solutions.

In a nutshell, parents want to give their children the best possible education, and they are prepared to go the extra mile to achieve it.



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education , private schools , DLP , PPSMI , English , proficiency


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