No English option for maths and science, says Muhyiddin

(The Malaysian Insider) – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin insisted today there will be no leeway for schools to continue using English to teach mathematics and science despite sustained pressure from parents’ groups.

The deputy prime minister told reporters today that allowing schools to choose whether to stick with teaching science and mathematics in English (PPSMI) or convert to Malay would result in a “mess”.

“It will be difficult to plan. If a school chooses English, or Malay, how will we provide teachers?” said Muhyiddin (picture), who is also education minister.

Pro-English lobby groups like the Parents Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) have sought the reinstatement of PPSMI after it was abolished in 2009.

PAGE has urged that schools be allowed to teach science and mathematics in English, stating that it has phone numbers of 100,000 parents who are in favour of it as it opens more doors for their children.

It said in a press release today that exam results at all levels have shown “improvements in English, no reduction in Bahasa Malaysia, and improvements in science and mathematics” since PPSMI was introduced in 2003.

“PPSMI is working, even for the rural students. That is the conclusion that can be derived from the (UPSR, PMR and SPM) examination results,” the group said.

PPSMI was first introduced under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration but the Education Ministry decided that it will revert to Malay by 2012 after consulting teachers and parents around the country.

In the uproar that ensued, Putrajaya introduced MBMMBI, which will see the teaching of mathematics and science revert to Bahasa Malaysia next year with more contact hours for English in order to improve students’ skills in the language.

In May, The Malaysian Insider reported that the Najib administration had decided not to switch back to PPSMI because several Cabinet ministers felt any change would be seen as another embarrassing flip-flop.

“There are teachers who are not good at English. So what is the use? Parents’ aspirations won’t be met,” Muhyiddin said today.