PAGE: ‘Unseen hands’ trying to reduce number of Dual Language Programme classes in schools

Teachers need support to stop education poverty.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chair, Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, says some school principals are turning existing Dual Language Programme (DLP) classes into non-DLP ones without parents’ consent.

She said parents are forced to accept non-DLP classes, disrupting students’ mental health, and parents’ peace of mind.

“Parents are not given consent letters as required, while students are subjected to discreet Bahasa Melayu (BM) assessments to determine whether or not they are suitable for DLP,” Noor Azimah said.

“Parents have been told that if the child’s BM proficiency is poor, then the child will be in a non-DLP class.

“If the child’s BM proficiency is above average, then the child will be in a DLP class. The perceived risk is that if the child’s BM proficiency is poor at six years old, the likelihood of failing BM during SPM when the child is 17, is high. It is mind-boggling.”

For the record, In 2015, the Economic Council, chaired by the then-prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, demanded a radical approach to enhancing English proficiency.

The Education and Strategic Reform Initiatives Human Capital Development of Pemandu (Performance Measurement and Delivery Unit) was assigned to explore and recommend this radical approach.

Close to 100 stakeholders attended an English-syndicated lab. The then Education director-general, Tan Sri Khair Mohamad Yusof, announced the DLP on June 11, 2015, and called it a “defining moment”.

The criteria were that schools had written permission from parents, teachers were ready, and schools had adequate resources.

“There was no BM requirement whatsoever,” said Noor Azimah, adding that the Education Ministry must not forget the importance of DLP.

“Ministers and director-generals come and go. But parents stay.

“Parents who want DLP are running around like headless chickens, as principals and school leaders are preventing them from seeking external help.”

Noor Azimah added that the Education Minister and officials from her ministry have failed to respond to parents’ concerns and appeals.

“There appears to be a nefarious attempt by ‘unseen hands’ to reduce the number of DLP classes,” said Noor Azimah.

“We urge the prime minister to intervene in ensuring that the DLP has the backing it deserves.

“Abolish the BM requirement, which was added at the last minute, automatically halving the number of schools that can choose DLP.”

She said the Education Ministry should further develop DLP to align with the government’s aspirations to ensure that the labour force was future-ready to accept the so-called high-value and skilled job opportunities that the prime minister had promised all Malaysians.

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