KUALA LUMPUR: Rural areas are not being ignored when it comes to the Government's efforts to encourage mastery of the English language in schools.
Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon (pic) said the Dual Language Program (DLP), implemented in January this year, was being run in selected schools in rural areas.
"About 30% of the 296 schools selected for the pilot program are actually in rural areas.
"The Ministry has not abandoned efforts to strengthen English language education in the schools there," he said in response to a question by Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad (BN–Lipis) in Parliament Wednesday.
The DLP allows for English to be fully used in the teaching and learning of Science, Mathematics and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
It was implemented in Government schools that met the four main conditions for the programme.
"Schools must have adequate resources like reference material and infrastructure, and principals and teachers who are willing and capable enough to implement the programme.
"Schools are also required to get written consent from parents and guardians of students to implement the programme, and it must have scored higher than the National Average Grade in Bahasa Melayu in UPSR and SPM examinations," said Chong.
He added that the Ministry had created a support system for schools implementing the DLP, providing operational guidelines, a standard curriculum, student learning guide, sample classroom lessons, and orientation materials.
Students are also provided textbooks and reference materials in English.
"At the year end, the Ministry will conduct a study on the effectiveness of the DLP and decide whether to fine-tune it further.
"However, the program does not mean that Bahasa Melayu is sidelined, as it is still the country's national language and all official communication is done using that language," said Chong.