PAGE says likely to continue PPSMI struggle

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) will likely pursue its cause to retain PPSMI in schools despite expressing “deep appreciation” to the government for allowing those already enjoying the policy to continue.

PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim told The Malaysian Insider she was “pleasantly surprised” by yesterday’s announcement by Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin but admitted the decision still fell short of the group’s demands.

“We are in a difficult situation now… we do deeply appreciate what the government has agreed to and we sincerely thank them.

“But at the same time, we want this (PPSMI) policy for our future generation, to go beyond 2020, until we are all dead and gone. We want this opportunity given to all,” she said when contacted last night.

PAGE had earlier warned the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of a voter backlash if it refused to consider retaining PPSMI (the teaching of science and mathematics in English) in schools.

Muhyiddin announced yesterday those students who have already been using the PPSMI policy may continue with it until they complete their secondary education.

But the deputy prime minister stressed that it did not mean the government was making a U-turn in its decision to scrap the policy.

He explained the decision meant that students between Year Three and Form Five next year would be allowed the option of learning science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia, English or both languages, as allowed under PPSMI, until they complete their primary and secondary education.

But this year’s Year One students, the first batch to undergo MBMMBI (Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English), would have to continue learning the two subjects in Bahasa Malaysia when they enter Year Two next year, he said.

MBMMBI was mooted in July 2009 to replace PPSMI and came into effect in January this year for Year One students. PPSMI was introduced in 2003 by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Noor Azimah questioned the sudden decision, pointing out that until Thursday, Muhyiddin had appeared bent on pressing on with the government’s original decision to scrap PPSMI completely next year.