PETALING JAYA: Not only will the Dual Language Programme (DLP) be continued and expanded, it will be implemented with an improved set of guidelines.
While the status of the programme – whether it was on or off – dominated headlines last week, a high-level meeting chaired by Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin discussed the amendments needed to improve the school approval guidelines, to be rolled out later this year.
It is learnt that the closed-door meeting on Thursday, attended by senior officials from the Education Ministry and professionals, was already scheduled to discuss the DLP before the programme’s uncertainty caused school heads and parents to call for its continuation.
A blog run by a “Cikgu Nurul” had alleged on Monday that the programme, which allows students to study Mathematics and Science in either Bahasa Malaysia or English, was apparently shelved.
In the meantime, the ministry will continue to approve new DLP schools based on the original guidelines used for previous DLP approvals.
Under the guidelines, schools must have the written consent of parents, enough qualified teachers and classrooms, and a score above the National Grade Average in Bahasa Malaysia before they can apply for the DLP.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, at a post-Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said the ministry would go on with the programme.
He is believed to have said that the ministry will not do a policy flip-flop on the issue and ultimately fulfil what the rakyat want.
The DLP has proven successful based on a 2016 study on English Language Performance conducted by the ministry’s English Language Teaching Centre.
Mahdzir, in Kedah on Friday, announced that a further 126 schools nationwide had been added to the DLP list, bringing the total number to 1,429 schools since it began in 2016.
There was resistance, however, to the DLP.
Most notably, parents and school board members of the SJK(T) Vivekananda in Petaling Jaya filed a judicial review last September after the school’s former headmistress went against the board and Parent-Teacher Association’s decision not to implement the programme.
On Friday, the group lodged police reports against Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahman to stop her from further commenting on the issue pending the court decision.
The case will be heard at the Kuala Lumpur High Court next month.