Teachers: No more u-turns on PPSMI and we’re on board

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 04 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: Science and Maths teachers in national schools are prepared to teach the two subjects in English once again but they want the guarantee that the government will not make another u-turn.

A number of Maths and Science teachers with experience ranging from 10 to 30 years said they were in support of the teaching and learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI).

However, another group of teachers expressed concerns that rural students with no support in English would be at a disadvantage.

Trainer V. Kanakambal from Kinta Teacher Training College said educators must be trained properly for PPSMI.

“The focus must be on pedagogy, rather than the language. PPSMI is a positive move which should never have been abolished, ” said Kanakambal.

She said she believed that Science and Maths teachers would rise to the fore when they were forced to – as was proven when PPSMI was first introduced in 2003.

“The fear (of putting into practice any new policy) will always be there among us educators. The government must get all stakeholders from all races and groups to give their views to create a syllabus well suited to the future generation of students.

“Trainers tend to train teachers with outdated syllabus.

“As we move towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with the crux of technical terms in English, one has to be proficient in English.

“The stress should be on Technology and Science, rather than English per se. This is because Technology and Science are global subjects and most of the terms tend to be in English anyway.

“This way, the dissenting voices would be more open to accepting PPSMI.

“It would not be easy in the early stages but it can be done with the right attitude from teachers. English is not foreign to us and it can be learnt by those teachers who were not trained in English, ” said Kanakambal.

Another teacher said the Education Ministry should just stick to the Dual Language Programme (DLP).

“The current batch of students in national schools should be allowed to learn in Bahasa Melayu which they can understand best.

“Not all Science and Maths teachers are proficient in English and with PPSMI, these teachers will suffer along with the students, ” said the science teacher from Pahang.

Universiti Putra Malaysia Educational Studies Faculty dean Prof Dr Samsilah Roslan said it was most important for the teachers to be well trained to run the programme for it to be successful.

This, she added, applied not only to PPSMI but any educational programme that was launched.

“Students also need to be ready, meaning that they are able to learn and digest the Science and Maths lessons taught in English, ” she said.

Prof Samsilah said PPSMI should be conducted where teachers and students were comfortable learning Science and Maths in English.

“In other schools, the focus on how to improve Science and Maths achievements should go beyond the language used, ” she said.

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