JOHOR BARU: Hundreds of students from five Tamil schools in Johor are in limbo after they were told that the Dual Language Programme will only be available in one class for each school starting this year.
In previous years, the DLP, where students are taught Science and Mathematics in English, were available for all students in the five schools – SJK(T) Taman Tun Aminah, SJK(T) Ladang Rini, SJK(T) Jalan Yahya Awal and SJK(T) Masai here as well as SJK(T) Jalan Haji Manan in Kluang.
According to parents, the Education Ministry’s reason of a lack of teachers to teach in English in secondary schools seems far fetched.
Worse still, SJK(T) Taman Tun Aminah parent-teacher association (PTA) chairman Datuk P. Raju said that the school was only made known about the change less than two months ago.
“For about five years, all students who were registered to this school would be in DLP classes, but all of a sudden, we have been told that for the Primary One intake this year, only one class, with about 35 students, could be in the programme.
“The school has received registrations for about 220 Primary One pupils this year and more than 90% of their parents wanted their children to be in the DLP classes,” he said.
“How is the school going to choose who gets to be in the DLP class and who does not? I have been receiving a lot of complaints from parents about this issue,” Raju said.
“We have held a meeting with the Johor Education Department and it said that this was a decision from the Education Ministry.
“We really hope that the ministry could reconsider this matter,” he told The Star.
Raju added that apart from parents and students, teachers were also affected by the sudden change, saying they were training to prepare themselves.
“They have been teaching the DLP classes for the past few years and now they are expected to revert back to teaching in Tamil.”
If the parents and the school knew about this earlier, it could have been different, added Raju.
“However, the problem is that we just found out. Many parents have also put in a lot of money to send their children to English-medium pre-schools.”
SJK(T) Jalan Haji Manan DLP parents coordinator S. Mahendran said students would now have to take an examination to decide if they could be in the DLP class.
“The Primary One pupils have just started lessons and now they have to take the exam first,” he said.
“The programme has been around for six years in this school, which means that the Education department and ministry had six years to prepare and ensure there were enough teachers in the secondary level to teach the DLP classes,” he said, adding that the programme was an idea mooted by the ministry itself.
“The objective was to ensure our graduates are proficient in English,” he added.
SJK(T) Masai PTA chairman K. Morilli said that most parents opted to send their children to the school because of the DLP classes.
“In Pasir Gudang, this is the only Tamil school that offers such classes,” he said.
“Some got a spot in a new Tamil school but their parents chose to send their children here because of the DLP,” Morilli said.
“I have sent letters to the ministry, appealing that it reconsider its decision.”
The DLP was introduced in 2016, where schools that meet the criteria set by the ministry could run the programme.
State education, information and communication committee chairman Norliza Noh promised to look into the matter.
“I will talk to the state Education Department to find out more details about this issue before commenting further. I will look into this matter seriously,” she said.