KUALA LUMPUR: There are no changes to the dual language programme (DLP) guidelines and requirements as claimed, says Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek.
She said similar guidelines have been implemented since the programme was introduced, and the ministry has never changed them.
“The guidelines remained the same until today, we never changed them. For schools that have 100% implemented the programme this year, they may continue to do so. We have no problem,” she said when winding up her ministry’s Budget 2024 debate in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Nov 27).
Earlier, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Itam) questioned the new conditions for DLP, which require at least one Science and Mathematics class to be taught in Bahasa Melayu (BM) as a "prerequisite" for a school to have DLP classes.
He also noted that the Parent Action Group for Education (Page) had raised similar concerns and asked the Education Ministry to explain such changes.
“The government is committed to empowering the national language. That is why non-DLP classes are still very important,” she said.
She also said that there are other English language empowerment programmes underway that would help students have a better command of the language.
“Don’t worry, there will be more programmes and policies that could strengthen students’ command of English.
“DLP is just one of the programmes. More approaches will be implemented,” she said in response to former education minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jiddin (PN-Putrajaya).
During the debate, Radzi said he had received several complaints from parents in Kuala Lumpur who claimed schools had backtracked on their decision to allow students to study subjects under DLP.
He called for the ministry to explain its stand over the programme's implementation, which some parents found confusing.
On a separate matter, Fadhlina guaranteed that her ministry would always prioritise resolving teacher shortage issues.
“We’re very committed to filling the vacancies in teacher posts and will ensure educational authority in the schools.
“I can reassure you that this issue will always have our attention,” she said.
Fadhlina also said that the issue has been taking place in all types of schools, including vernacular schools.
The minister had a brief exchange with Dr Wee when the latter was trying to ask supplementary questions.
“I need to put an end to the questions from the Honourable (MPs) because I don’t want more polemics linked to this issue to be brought up.
“I have given my word that we will solve it,” she said, rejecting Ayer Itam’s request to interject.
When debating the Budget 2024, Dr Wee had earlier urged the government to conduct urgent roundtable discussions to discuss the way forward involving the issue of teacher shortages in vernacular schools.
He said he viewed the matter seriously as there were some inconsistencies in the data given by the Education Ministry from month to month.