PPSMI: The Language of Politics

This is a calculated political gamble which could land Umno/BN some crucial swing votes in the rural areas. Their logic would be that proponents of PPSMI are from urban areas, and since urban areas are against BN anyway, they would have to pander to the sentiments of the rural population in order to retain the federal government. PKR has not ignored this effect, which is why they have also come out to say that they support the change in policy.

By Douglas Tan

With Muhyiddin Yassin slamming the door shut on PPSMI, the debate continues to rage on within both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat alike. PKR comes out to support the abolishment, whereas the DAP wants to give parents the choice.

PAGE, the English rights action group is submitting 7,000 petitions in favour of the teaching of maths and science in English to the Prime Minister. Gerakan is also whispering that they would prefer that parents have the choice. How did we get into this place in the beginning?

The implementation of PPSMI created controversy back in 2003, but if one were to gauge the results of the 2004 General Elections which swept Barisan Nasional back to power with the biggest majority in their history, there is little evidence to suggest that the implementation of this policy was detrimental.

After a while, we hear praise for the government policy being forward thinking from different sections of the society. The mainstream media also ran pieces about English competency amongst teachers, and how many had struggled to cope with the teaching of the subjects in English. Obviously, this did not reflect well on the federal government, who then spent millions on books, training courses and computer software to train the teachers to become competent.

I strongly suspect that the decision to reverse the policy to teach maths and science in English is based more on the fact that the teachers did not want to make the additional effort to learn English, rather than poor results, especially in the rural areas. At times, one hears stories as to how children who can speak better English than their teachers would proceed to torment and taunt them for their poor command of the  language.

Malaysian parents are by-and-large extremely concerned about their children’s education, in order for their children to secure their future, both socially and financially. We had the Education Ministry boast of the best UPSR results in history not too long ago, but obviously dissatisfied, the government has decided that teaching maths and science in Malay once again would further raise the standards.

With the General Election fast approaching, the Deputy Prime Minister is obviously intent to prevent what are traditional Barisan strongholds fall to the Opposition. He has cleverly observed that because heritage and pride are something deeply emotional, he waves the flag of “I’m Malay first, Malaysian second” despite this being in direct contradiction with Najib’s 1Malaysia. Therefore touting the fact that he is a nationalist and defender of the race, he gets rid of PPSMI to raise up the Malay language once again.

Read more at: http://dougtan.blogspot.com/2011/11/ppsmi-language-of-politics.html