Scrapping of the PPSMI

To me, it’s not so much the scrapping of an existing policy, but more like the reversion of a good policy with bad implementation, to a bad policy with probably equally bad implementation.

How else could I understand the decision that was made by the Malaysian government?

The teaching of Maths and Science in English started in 2003. Now the decision to revert back to teaching the two subjects in BM is to start in 2012. And it doesn’t take a maths genius to see that there is only a 9 year gap in between.

Is 9 years all it takes to see success of a policy that was put in place to stop the downward trend of the English language in Malaysia?

Let’s put it this way. I was always supportive of teaching Maths and Science in English. I’ve always thought that though it doesn’t really matter much what language one teaches or learns Maths, Science is a subject that is constantly being renewed and reviewed. New material is always coming out, and learning Science in English allows exposure to these kinds of material.

Sure, students in Primary One are not going to be needing this extra information and material any time soon. But it prepares them for it. They are equipped with a better understanding, and it gives them a platform on which they can expand their knowledge, should they choose to.

But let’s say for example that all this didn’t matter. I still think that reverting the policy is a bad decision. If not for any other reason but that it creates a whole lot of confusion.

When we first started the PPSMI, it was quite chaotic. We didn’t quite know how it was going to happen, and I think the teachers themselves were equally confused and anxious about teaching in English. But I think the general idea that people got from the implementation of the PPSMI was that our standard of English was dropping, and that something had to be done to stop that downward spiral to nowhere.

If there was nothing else to be gained from the PPSMI in the past 6 years, at least we understood that English was important, and that we had to buck up.

Now, by reverting the policy, what message is the Ministry trying to send out?

Maybe some teachers will be relieved to hear about this decision. I knew of teachers who would dread going into the classroom because their command of English was worse than some of the students in class.

But instead of saying that it’d be better for our children to learn Maths and Science in BM because the teachers are better equipped to teach in that language, isn’t it more important to ask why our teachers are not capable of constructing a proper sentence in English, much less teach their subject in English?

What reason can there be for us as a nation to choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing?

Will it take another batch of local graduates to make the headlines because they can’t spell ‘twelve’ before we come to realise (again!) that our education system is falling faster and faster down the slippery slope?

Will this policy be re-reverted back to teaching in English in another 12 years from now?

Will our education system remain forever at this sub-standard?

Where are we going from here?


Postscript: I can’t help but wonder which lucky person is in-charge of publishing the new textbooks.

Postscript #2: Read also de minimis HERE. Like him, I too do not buy their “this is not a political decision” talk, because it blatantly is.

Postscript #3: Read also Patricia’s take HERE. She thinks the decision to revert back to teaching Maths and Science in BM is the correct one, but that doesn’t mean she’s happy about it. And I can understand why.


8 Comments on “Scrapping of the PPSMI”

  1. Huang says:

    Personally, I’d prefer my kids to learn S&M in English. It’s much easier to source for info.

    But I’m not sure about the argument to improve English via S&M.

    Why don’t we just import teachers from England for the teaching of English here?

  2. miraa says:

    heyyy i as a student think that it is much better to study in english lah. eventough in 2012 i have graduated from high school, but then i feel pity for those students, who some are my younger brothers, cousins, or even friends. english actually preparing the student to get better understanding of the two major subject. you know, in the future they’ll learn things in english too, i mean when they are in higher education. it is also a waste of money. millions of ringgit will be wasted. text books, cd, ughhh dont u feel it’s too troublesome?

  3. The Voice says:


  4. The Voice says:

    You’ve been featured on my blog.

  5. Adler says:

    The private schools are rubbing the hands with joy in anticipation of the huge influx of students from public schools.

    I kid you not.

  6. Ng Chee Whee says:

    I am drafting an assignment on this subject for a friend. Basically, i am a young private English teacher who thinks likewise. Would the author mind giving me your insights on who should be held accountable for the poor English standard among students. I am going to write the paper by assessing the role of different parties in both social and political institutions as i think they all play a part in this.

  7. Ahmad Danial says:

    Yo this goverment are total bullshit. There brains are all most like shit. You can’t just change it like that. This idiot goverment have to read this comment. The one who made the choice to cancel ppsmi is the king of idiocy. Couldn’t you idiot just give them a choice to pick what language they want to. I am angry man, me bro is hoing to do his upsr in two years time and his brain is going to be blank.

  8. 508xrebel says:

    Bolehkah kita mempelajari nahu Bahasa Inggeris atau Bahasa Melayu menerusi pengajaran subjek Sains dan Matematik. Adakah memadai mempelajari suatu bahasa hanya di sekolah, iaitu suatu pembelajaran terhenti atau tidak berterusan hingga ke tua? Ikuti pandangan YM. Profesor Diraja Ungku Abdul Aziz bin Ungku Abdul Hamid di Youtube.
    Yang mana kita perlukan Resolusi Bahasa atau Revolusi Bahasa? Revolusi Bahasa adalah satu ideologi, cadangan dan juga desakan oleh seorang bekas hakim bernama Mokhtar Hj. Mansor menerusi suratnya kepada PM dan menteri-menteri sekitar tahun 1990 yang mendesak supaya pelajaran subjek Sains dan Matematik diajarkan dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Dakwaannya bahawa pengajaran subjek Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris dapat melonjakkan prestasi pelajar dalam kedua-dua subjek ini mula mendapat perhatian umum terutama menteri-menteri menerusi bukunya “Revolusi Bahasa Bahasa Revolusi” (Utusan Malaysia 17 hb Julai 1991).
    Sedikit mengenai pembohongan Mokhtar Hj Mansor, sila layari blog ini :

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