Malaysia Budget 2016: Parents and teachers welcome move to improve English proficiency

The Star/ANN

Parents groups and teachers welcome the move to implement the Dual Language Programme (DLP) and Highly Immersive Programme (HIP) in schools to improve English proficiency.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said it was "an exciting day" when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the two programmes while tabling Budget 2016.

"Finally, the Government has been listening to us parents," she said, adding that PAGE had been pursuing the teaching of the two crucial subjects in English for the past six years but to no avail.

The DLP is a programme where schools will be given the option to teach Science and Mathematics in English or Bahasa Malaysia to Year One and Year Four pupils.

Najib announced that DLP would be offered in 300 pilot schools.

Meanwhile, HIP will see an increase in activities conducted during English language lessons but not an increase in teaching hours.

Najib said RM38.5mil had been allocated for both programmes.

Noor Azimah explained that the chosen pilot schools were primary schools which were currently teaching Science and Mathematics in English in Year Six.

"They had opted for the soft-landing approach when the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) was abolished."

She said these schools already had the infrastructure and parental support to conduct the subjects in English.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Datuk Lok Yim Pheng also praised the Government for the programmes.

However, Lok said the Govern­ment must not forget the other schools that were not part of the pilot programme.

"The Government must also look at the other schools which are not that proficient in English and equip them with quality teachers so that the students are not left behind," she said.

Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) president Prof Dr S. Ganakumaran said the ministry must ensure that the necessary conditions were in place so that the programmes would stand a chance of succeeding.

"There is no point in coming up with innovative and progressive programmes without ensuring that the conditions are close to perfect and that stakeholders are ready to commit to work for their success.

"Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past," he said.