PETALING JAYA: Parents’ groups want the Education Ministry to push ahead with the DLP (Dual Language Programme).
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim called on the ministry to announce the list of DLP schools for this year.
“Schools and teachers need to know. They need time to prepare. Parents also need to know as many want DLP for their children.
“If the lack of DLP circulars and guidelines is the main reason for the ministry’s silence, it’s not a good enough excuse to postpone the implementation of the DLP.
“Nor should the DLP be put on hold just because those who were not in favour of it have initiated a lawsuit against the ministry,” she said, adding that there were 1,215 DLP schools as of December.
“A pilot test was successfully conducted while the DLP was running for two years.
“Now, suddenly, they want circulars and guidelines to be drawn up for the programme to proceed when these can be introduced later,” she added.
Noor Azimah urged the ministry to make an announcement on the status of the DLP immediately.
“I hope there will not be another flip-flop,” she said.
There will be an uproar if existing schools are not allowed to continue with the DLP, said Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin.
“All existing DLP schools with Year One and Form One students have already started lessons,” he added.
Parents and students were told during registration that their children would be in the DLP.
“How will they feel if their children are denied the right to study in English now?” said Mak.
“What will happen to all the preparation, resources and textbooks that have been distributed?” he asked, while questioning the reason for a freeze at “the eleventh hour”.
He urged the ministry to clarify the matter, and said a policy backtrack would result in protests.
Commenting on the DLP’s implementation, National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said its members are merely executors of government policy.
“It’s about what parents want, and how the ministry can accommodate that,” he said.
Despite its controversial start, the DLP has resulted in an improved command of English among students, Sunday Star reported in a front-page exclusive in November.
The ministry’s annual report for 2016 said that three-quarters of DLP students were at or above the target level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – a guide developed by the Council of Europe to gauge foreign language proficiency.