PUTRAJAYA: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the decision to stop teaching Science and Mathematics in English came after careful study.
“We have scientific data to prove that a student's improvement in understanding scientific and mathematical concepts is closely linked to the language of communication that he or she can easily understand,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, explained the decisions made on several issues including PPSMI in a 265-page book he launched yesterday.
He said the PPSMI, introduced in 2003 under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration and reversed in 2009, had failed to achieve its objectives, going by the results over the past few years.
“Bahasa Melayu still dominates communication in our country today. Hence the language is most suitable to be maintained as the language of learning,” Muhyiddin said in the book “Sudut Pandang Muhyiddin Yassin: Isu, Kontroversi, Pandangan Serta Harapan - Sebuah Wawancara” (Point of View of Muhyiddin Yassin: Issues, Controversies, Views and Hope An Interview).
Muhyiddin, who took over the education portfolio in April 2009, said at the 2008 UPSR, 79.7% rural students passed Science, compared to 83.2% the year before.
A decline was also recorded among students in urban areas where the total number who passed the subject dropped from 85.1% to 82.5% during the same period.
This means that close to 170,000 Year Six students failed the two subjects in the 2008 UPSR.
“As for Mathematics, only 80.9% urban students passed in 2008 compared to 84.8% in 2007. Among rural students, the drop was from 80.9% to 77%.
“It is not fair to blame the teachers for PPSMI's failure. It failed because the command of English among rural students is very poor, hence forcing teachers to teach (the subjects) in two languages,” Muhyiddin said.
He added that only about 5% of primary schools nationwide taught the two subjects fully in English, while less than 9% learned them in English at secondary school level.
Other issues that were discussed in the book include making history a compulsory subject for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and introducing a cap of 10 subjects for SPM candidates.
The book is retailed at RM40 per copy at MPH Bookstores (Mid Valley and Alamanda Putrajaya) and Kinokuniya Suria KLCC.