‘We have enough qualified teachers’

 PUTRAJAYA: There are enough qualified teachers for the Dual Language Programme. However, the problem, says the Education Minister, is that schools do not fulfil the requirements for DLP to be carried out.

“We have enough teachers,” said Fadhlina Sidek. “The quality of our teachers have never been an issue. But schools must meet certain conditions to conduct the programme, especially the requirement that the students’ Bahasa Melayu (BM) results are as good, if not better, than the ministry’s target.”

And, they have to maintain this achievement for a number of years consecutively, she told StarEdu. “This is where most schools fail.”

Other criteria for DLP approval are the availability of resources such as teachers who could teach Mathematics and Science in English, and sufficient classrooms.

Fadhlina said the ministry was in the midst of settling the DLP issues in Johor.

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In March, The Star reported that hundreds of pupils from five Tamil schools in Johor were in limbo after they were told that the DLP would only be available in one class for each school starting this year.

On May 5, the parents said they were waiting for a ‘‘win-win solution’’ from the ministry.

“Many of these schools, especially the SJK(T), didn’t meet the requirements but the ministry is committed to ensuring that there are enough classes.

“We are trying our best but there are hurdles because the DLP conditions have not been met. We are working on it and there has been good progress,” she added, urging parents to send their children to schools while waiting for the matter to be sorted out.

“Some parents want to wait until their appeal for the child to go to a DLP school is approved,” Fadhlina pointed out. “Don’t do that. It’s not fair to the children. Let us settle issues related to the resources.

“As parents, you must commit to sending your child to school regardless of whether DLP is on,” she said, reminding school heads to plan well if they wanted the DLP.

“Don’t just do it half-heartedly because you want to please the parents. Be realistic.

“For example, if you only have one DLP class at secondary level and eight at primary level, it means you don’t have the necessary resources to run the programme.

“The ministry can assist the school but we also have to look at your capabilities.

“When you don’t have enough classrooms but you want to do DLP and parents are all fighting for a spot, it looks like we don’t have enough teachers, which is not the case,” Fadhlina said, adding that the DLP was just one of initiatives under the Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening the English Language (better known by its Malay abbreviation, MBMMBI) policy.

It was introduced to improve English proficiency of students through the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics subjects, as well as to increase students’ ability to compete globally and employability.

Currently, there are 1,613 primary and 753 secondary DLP schools nationwide.

The DLP, said Fadhlina, was not a curriculum neither was it a policy so the question of whether it would be expanded should not arise.

The ministry, she said, had many other initiatives such as the Highly Immersive Programme (HIP), Remedial Instruction Programme (RI) and the English Language Skills Enhancement Programme in Schools (PPKBIS) to boost language proficiency.

To date, HIP has been implemented in all 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and in Institutes of Teacher Education and all other post-secondary institutions under the ministry.

This year 1,220 schools will be involved in RI with another 120 identified for PPKBIS.

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