Plan to import S’porean volunteer teachers shameful, says PAGE

Plan to import S’porean volunteer teachers shameful, says PAGE

Plan to import S’porean volunteer teachers shameful, says PAGE
Noor Azimah Rahim wants the education ministry to drop its new rule requiring Year 1 and Form 1 classes to have one class that teaches mathematics and science in Bahasa Melayu.

PETALING JAYA: The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) says Malaysia should be ashamed of its proposal to bring volunteers from Singapore into the country to teach English.

Speaking to FMT, PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Rahim asked if Putrajaya would admit that the abolishment of English-medium schools in the 1970s was a mistake.

“Malaysia should be quite embarrassed that Singapore has to offer us volunteers as English teachers. Our English proficiency was as good as Singapore’s once upon a time, and in some cases it still is as good.

“In accepting the volunteers to teach English or even science and mathematics in English, have we finally acknowledged that we were wrong in abolishing English medium schools?” she said.

Azimah was reacting to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s proposal that volunteers be brought in from Singapore to teach English to those in urban poor areas and the interiors of the country.


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Beginning 1970, English-medium primary and secondary schools were slowly phased out, with Malay becoming the medium of instruction.

At a joint press conference on Wednesday, Anwar said he had discussed with Singapore prime minister Lawrence Wong the possibility of bringing in teachers from that country to teach English and other subjects in Malaysia.

Anwar later said the initiative would only involve volunteers, who would be assigned to teach English to the urban poor and those in the interior of East Malaysia. He said Singapore has offered to cover the cost of the programme.

Azimah did not shoot down Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s proposal outright, but said a more immediate solution was needed to restore the previous implementation of the dual language programme (DLP).

This means allowing parents to decide if they want their children to be taught science and mathematics in English or Bahasa Melayu, she said.


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Azimah reiterated her call for the education ministry to get rid of its new DLP rule requiring Year 1 and Form 1 classes to have one non-DLP class teaching mathematics and science in Bahasa Melayu.

“Since 90% of primary schools in Sabah and peninsula still do not offer DLP, (we should) gradually open DLP classes at Year One in every school. Revert to the original spirit of DLP. With practice, our teachers will improve.

“In the medium-term, (Malaysia must) produce better English teachers by turning one secondary school in every state into an English-medium school to raise its quality, starting with Johor,” said Azimah.

Meanwhile, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said it supported Anwar’s proposal, pointing out that presently some teachers are forced to take on the teaching of English despite not having specialised in the subject.

“As teachers, they have to learn and try to meet the needs of their students at school,” said NUTP secretary-general Fouzi Singon.

He said Anwar’s proposal appeared to be co-curricular in nature, whereas those teaching in school must under the law be qualified teachers.

Fouzi called on the education ministry to share actual data on the shortage of teachers in order to properly address the issue with stakeholders.

“If this data is shared, training and study needs can be planned by the Teachers’ Education Institute and universities. What is more practical is having teacher training and knowledge sharing between teachers of the two countries,” he said.

Plan to import S’porean volunteer teachers shameful, says PAGE



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