Making way for English, shorter hours for 3 subjects

(NST) PUTRAJAYA: Learning hours for Music, Physical Education and Science may be reduced by 45 minutes each to accommodate the extended hours for the English language.

Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said schools would not have extra schooling hours, especially for primary school children, once the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia come into force in 2012.

The school hours for the pupils end at 12.50pm.

“We may reduce the hours of these subjects by at least one period or 45 minutes each. This is because we do not want to burden our children or make them stay back,” Alimuddin told the New Straits Times yesterday.

He also said teachers would be encouraged to use English terms in teaching art subjects.

The cabinet had decided that the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics would revert to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools and mother-tongue languages in national-type schools from 2012.

The reversal of the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English (PPSMI) policy would be done in stages, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last Wednesday.

He, however, added that there would be greater emphasis on learning the English language.

English literature will be reintroduced, as will subjects on grammar and composition.

Alimuddin said a policy decision had been made by the government and that it was final.

He gave an assurance that students’ proficiency in English would improve through the policy.

“If we do it rightly and stay on course, I believe we can reinforce Bahasa Malaysia and strengthen students’ proficiency in English by the end of 2012.

“Their English will be better, I am sure. We will increase the number of English teachers by about 14,000 from the 32,000-plus now.

“More language labs will be set up and we are also getting at least 1,000 English specialists from abroad.

“Even master teachers and retirees will be roped in. Given all these, our children stand a good chance of improving their command of the language in a short period of time.”

He said parents should remain committed to help the government improve the national education agenda.

“Buy more English magazines or novels for your children. Make them read more English materials.”

In line with the new policy, he said the ministry would issue a circular to encourage teachers to teach Science and Mathematics in English and Bahasa Malaysia.

He said students would have adapted themselves with Bahasa Malaysia terms used in the two subjects by 2012.

“Within these two years, we want students and teachers to be exposed to the terms (in Bahasa Malaysia) and I believe, with commitment and effectiveness, we can do this.”