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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

PTA ‘Leads The Way’ With EGM

25 July 2009

KUALA LUMPUR. Pursuant to the decision to abolish the policy of PPSMI,
concerned parents of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Damansara (SKBD) sought a mandate from its Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to appeal to the Ministry of Education that SKBD be an exempted school to proceed with the current policy of the teaching of science and math in English (PPSMI).

The PTA of SKBD convened an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) today to pass the resolution as well as to propose to change the status of the school from Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) to Sekolah Kebangsaan (SMI) - Science and Math in English.

It was made clear to the parents that they were not going against a government decision but instead was seeking status quo. Each student entitled a parent to have one vote. The votes were tallied and it was found that a staggering 97% of parents wanted to be given the option of PPSMI to be maintained in the school.

This option of allowing parents, teachers and students to choose illustrates the democracy that this country strongly adheres to. A choice of education must at all times be upheld to assure voters that democracy allows the freedom to choose.

The resolution will now be sent to the Prime Minister for consideration.

Observers from other PTAs were also present.

This move followed a brainstorming session with several PTAs of top schools in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya that wanted PPSMI to be maintained in their schools. It is hoped that the schools wanting to maintain PPSMI will take the cue from here and do likewise.

The constitution of the PTA allows the committee to convene an EGM, with seven days’ notice, to discuss a specific matter concerning the welfare of students in their school. Should the committee refuse to do so, parents comprising 20% of the number of students, through a signature petition, may compel the PTA to convene an EGM within 21 days of a written request.

The PTA provides the platform for parents to voice out their opinions on student welfare and must provide such an avenue should the need arise. It is a responsibility entrusted to all PTAs by their respective State Education Departments.

NST Online - Give us the option, say parents


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rural - Urban Divides Narrows, says UNESCO

22 July 2009

With reference to the report in the NST on 21 July 2009 entitled 'Education success puts Malaysia 45th in UN index', PAGE wishes to congratulate the previous Ministers of Education for putting "Malaysia on par with several developed nations for its success in closing the educational gap between the urban and rural areas” as reported in the Education-For-All Global Monitoring Report 2009.

This statement strongly supports the fact that the government policy of the teaching and learning of science and math in English (PPSMI), which was implemented in 2003, has not caused any detrimental effect to the educational standards of the rural students as claimed by the opponents of the policy.

From the start, PAGE has always determinedly upheld the rights of all students both rural and urban. However, we faced fierce and emotional opposition from the language extremists who managed to persuade our current Minister of Education to reverse the policy two steps backwards, not only in primary schools but also in secondary schools as well. This is completely contradictory to the previous Minister of Education's assertion that whatever decision made would affect students entering Year One only, so as not to disrupt and confuse the rest.

As evidenced by the Education-For-All Global Monitoring Report 2009, our students have obviously not been disadvantaged due to PPSMI. Hence PAGE again calls upon the present Education Minister to allow national schools to decide for themselves the medium of instruction for the teaching and learning of science and math.

Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE)


Monday, July 20, 2009

From PAGE at Stadium Bukit Jalil

Why did 80,000 Malaysians cheer and support a foreign team that gives them "nothing" back except the temporary excitement and joy of watching ?
Because no Malaysian team can! Malaysia tak boleh?

So if even in play and fun we, Malaysians can accept a foreign element, why can’t it be in EDUCATION which is so much more important to our children’s future?

Why is it so difficult to accept that if Bahasa Melayu cannot give a future in the job market, then PPSMI is the way to go?

Why can’t the nationalists scream and swear at the Manchester United fans since they are destroying the Malay culture with the ‘red horns’ on their heads whilst parents are just trying to put a decent square mortarboard on our children's heads?

PAGE meets PTAs

Saturday 18 July 2009

The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) met with several key PTA Chairmen or their representatives today at a closed-door session to brainstorm its next course of action.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had expressly stated that due consideration may be given to schools that desire to maintain the teaching of science and math in English (SMI) in their schools, either primary or secondary.

All schools that want to do so are advised to urge its PTA to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to agree to maintain the policy and to convert the status of the school from Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) or Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) to SK(SMI) or SMK(SMI). Failing that, parents are to initiate a signature drive to garner support for the cause indicating the name of the school, the name of the parent and the age of the child.

Meanwhile, PAGE urges the Ministry of Education to conduct its own studies as to which schools have benefited from the policy and which desire to maintain it.

Parents and stakeholders are also strongly urged to write to the Malay press (Berita Harian , Utusan Malaysia) seeking for the fourth option, that is, to maintain the policy in your school.

For secondary schools that want to retain the English option, you are encouraged to work with your primary feeder schools, to do likewise, to ensure the continuity of learning and to maintain the standards already proudly upheld by your school.

It is most important that PAGE needs to know the names of the schools interested. We need the numbers to succeed. Let us help each other out.

Copies of all EGM resolutions or signatures will be sent to PAGE for compilation and which will be forwarded to the Prime Minister in due course.

PAGE may be contacted via email at or visit our blog at PAGE Malaysia.

Thank you.

Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

From Our Neighbour

Give option to choose language, urge parents (asiaone education, Singapore)

Many Malaysians' first language is English, claim parents' group. -NST

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Schools should be given the option to teach Science and Mathematics in English or Bahasa Malaysia, or in one's mother tongue, Parents Action Group for Education (Page) said yesterday.

"There might be some schools which would want to continue teaching in English," said Page chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.

"I think there should be a choice. There are many Ma-laysians whose first language is English," she added.

Noor Azimah said maintaining English as an option would also be a compromise for the people in Sabah and Sarawak, who are not given the choice to learn in their mother tongue.

She said in the long run, the move to revert to teaching the two subjects in Bahasa Malaysia would rob the younger generation of job opportunities.

Malaysian English Language Teaching Association president Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam said the policy of teaching of Maths and Science in English should at least be maintained in secondary schools.

"We could follow the formula practised in Middle Eastern countries such as Oman and Syria. Lessons should be taught in the mother tongue in primary schools and then we can move on to teach Science and Maths in English in secondary school."

He said although he was surprised at the decision, he understood that it was "done out of necessity".

"We were not prepared for the shift to English. We didn't have enough teachers who were trained."

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said more emphasis should be placed on strengthening the teaching and learning of English in schools.

"It is not only about understanding the language itself, but students must also be able to speak and write fluently."

Shamsuddin said without a proper grasp of the language, Malaysia would lose its competitive advantage vis-a-vis other countries.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general G. Rajasekaran said the latest decision could lead to confusion.

"The present policy is one way to make students learn English. Fresh graduates today lack good understanding of the language."

From Our Lawyer Friends Back Home

Bloggers in civilised debate
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 10:15am

©New Straits Times (Used by permission)

KUALA LUMPUR: Unlike Saturday's protest to force the Education Ministry to drop the use of English in the teaching of Science and Mathematics (PPSMI), others have chosen to use civil means to handle the matter.

The blogosphere is abuzz in healthy debate over the issue, with Malaysians taking varied stands and suggesting interesting solutions.

At the same time, bodies concerned with the issue, such as the Parent Action Group for Education (Page), are also reaching out to parents and collecting feedback.

Page chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said they have written to the parent-teacher associations of more than 3,000 schools in urban and rural areas. "We've got responses from 2,000 schools and it is interesting to note that 95 per cent of them support the PPSMI."

On Saturday's march, she felt that the protesters' action could be construed as a bid to hold the Education Ministry to ransom.
She said the anti-PPSMI group had been heard and their views duly considered at the roundtable meetings held by the ministry.

"The demonstration is therefore not only a waste of time but goes against the grain of what is Malay culture. The virtues of patience and tolerance are what Malays hold most dear."

She said Page supported the PPSMI as it could prepare the present generation of children for the challenging times ahead.

"We appeal to our nation's decision-makers to leave politics out of educational policies as that will put our children's future at risk."

In the blogosphere, Rasainthiran. M, posting his views on, felt that although the PPSMI issue may look like a Malay problem, it also affected Chinese and Tamil schools.

"Differences are many; but it cannot be denied that English is also the 'scientific' language of the modern world. The big question is how to implement it effectively," he said.

In another blog, dinomum said all parties (government, opposition or non-governmental organisations) must stop politicising the issue.

"I am a mother of two and have no qualms about supporting the continuance of teaching Science and Maths in English. Do you know that if we ever do a search on the Internet for simple Science or Maths terminology, the results are overwhelmingly in English rather than in Bahasa Malaysia?"

Dinomum also said as most other subjects were taught in Bahasa Malaysia, there was no way the national language would be compromised. admitted looking down on those who were impatient over PPSMI. "I honestly think those against PPSMI never felt the hardship of looking up English technical terms in thick heavy dictionaries in university. How it felt to translate every single word at least three times into Bahasa Malaysia, and creating a new sentence to understand a particular technical sentence."

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam suggested that the government offer the option of using the mother tongue or English in the teaching of Science and Mathematics in primary schools.

"This will give the people a choice and Bahasa Malaysia will strengthen its position and become a language of knowledge."

He also felt there should be a stop to street demonstrations as they did not provide a solution to the issue.

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye urged the cabinet to allow the PPSMI policy to continue and find means to plug any loopholes in it.

The policy was important in helping the nation find its own place in the global economy, he added.

From Brunei With Love

Good English still target: Najib (Borneo Bulletin Weekend Online)

PUTRAJAYA (NST) - The national objective of enhancing the mastery of English among Malaysians remains unchanged and will "forever remain the same", Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday. "Only this time, the methods vary," the prime minister said, adding that the government's policy on English remained untouched.

He said English would continue to be given prominence for the future of the country and people, adding that the use of Bahasa Malaysia in teaching Science and Mathematics did not mean that English was unimportant.

"We still uphold the same objectives as we realise how important it is to have a good command of the (English) language," he told newsmen after chairing the Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation meeting at the Prime Minister's Department yesterday.

Najib said the government could reinforce the process of teaching and learning English by extending learning hours of the language, having better and more experienced teachers and enhancing existing infrastructure and facilities such as language laboratories.

Given time, Najib said, the decision would enable the government to require a pass in English in order to obtain the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia certificate. "Like what (Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister) Tan Sri Muhyiddin (Yassin) has said, we might make (a pass in) English compulsory at the SPM level.

"All this will augment our commitment and sensitivity to the importance of having a good command of English so that we can compete in this era of globalisation," said Najib, who is also the finance minister.

Najib said English Literature would also be introduced as "this is better than teaching and learning the two subjects (Science and Mathematics) in English". He stressed that the goal was ultimately to enhance proficiency and mastery of English, something essential for the country and Malaysians in a globalised world.

On calls by the Parents Action Group for Education (Page) for schools to be given the option to teach the two subjects in English or Bahasa Malaysia, Najib said the suggestion would be referred to the Education Ministry. "Let them assess if it is viable for consideration," he said.

Friday, July 17, 2009

PAGE In The International Press

Malaysia drops English language teaching (Guardian, UK)

Government says education policy failing to create global speakers

Malaysia language riots

Ethnic Malays take opposition to English on to Kuala Lumpur streets in March. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Malaysia has decided to abandon a six-year experiment in using English in state schools to teach maths and ­science. The plan was intended to produce a new generation of global communicators, but government officials say it has stalled attainment and exposed a dearth of teachers able to deliver classes in English.

Education minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced last Wednesday that the English-medium education policy introduced across the country in 2003, known as PPSMI, would be phased out from 2012. He said that evidence gathered during a year-long assessment and public consultation had convinced the government that PPSMI wasn't working, and that the dominance of English in the curriculum risked undermining students' grasp of their first language.

"I wouldn't say it's a complete failure but it has not achieved the desired objectives that it was supposed to achieve," Muhyiddin told a press conference.

"The government is convinced that science and maths need to be taught in a language that will be easily understood by students, which is Bahasa Malay in national schools, Mandarin in Chinese schools and Tamil in Tamil schools."

But supporters of the policy ­expressed dismay, calling the decision a lost opportunity for Malaysia to emulate the economic success of English-speaking Singapore, held up as an example of how language skills can be a key to a connecting local workers and industries to the global economy.

The Parents Action Group for Education (Page), which had campaigned to maintain PPSMI, said the change would be unfair on many parents.

"There might be some schools which would want to continue teaching in English," Page chairman Azimah Abdul Rahim told the New Straits Times newspaper. "I think there should be a choice. There are many Malaysians whose first language is English."

The use of English for teaching in class has been a politically charged ­issue since it was decreed by Malaysia's autocratic prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, months before he stood down from office in 2003.

Since he was a staunch nationalist during his 22 years in power, Mahatir's move was a surprise acknowledgement that the post-independence policy he had championed of promoting Malay identity and downgrading the country's anglophone colonial past had been a mistake.

English-medium teaching was phased out of most schools by the 1970s. As a result the economy stagnated and Malaysia needed to develop a workforce skilled in the language of commerce and technology if it was to catch up with its south-east Asian competitors, he argued.

Many schools struggled from the start to deliver maths and science lessons in English, but the promise of future economic gains, and enthusiasm among parents, particularly in urban areas, for their children to acquire ­better English helped to maintain government commitment to the policy.

But in more recent years few have been able to ignore an emerging skills gap between urban and rural schools as education authorities outside the major cities failed to find enough staff able to teach in English. Meanwhile, government opponents have fanned nationalist fears by claiming that Malay culture was being undermined by PPSMI.

In 2008 the government responded to growing pressure by setting up a review of PPSMI, and an expert panel delivered its report to ministers in January, but a decision was stalled until after parliamentary elections in April.

In March police in Kuala Lumpur used teargas to disperse up to 5,000 ethnic Malays who took to the streets to voice their opposition to the policy.

In his statement, Muhyiddin denied that the government had bowed to political pressure, stressing instead that the decision had been taken on the basis of educational results alone.

He claimed these showed that the students who had been taught maths and science in ­English since they started primary school were now performing less well in those subjects in national exams than previous cohorts.

He said the percentage of students who achieved grade A to C for science had dropped by 2.5% in urban schools and 3% in rural schools. For maths, the results had fallen by around 4% in both urban and rural schools.

He added that only 8% of teachers were using English exclusively in classes while the use of Bahasa Malay was still common, particularly in rural areas, with on average just over half of PPSMI teaching time being delivered in English.

English-medium instruction will be phased out from schools from 2012 and the focus shifted to teaching ­English in separate language classes alongside improved Bahasa Malay teaching, Muhyiddin said.
He said that up to 14,000 English language teachers would be recruited by 2012, as well as specialist teaching assistants. English language teaching time will be increased by up to 30% a week, Muhyiddin added.

However, some critics were sceptical that qualified teaching staff can be found. "What has not occurred to the authorities is that the education system requires very competent teachers," Khoo Kay Kim, emeritus professor at the University of Malaya's history department, told the Reuters news agency.

Meanwhile, the still influential architect of PPSMI was quick to rally support for his policy. The octogenarian Dr Mahathir is using his popular blog to canvass opinion. "I am not surprised over the disappointment and even anger towards the government's decision ... Seems to me like the government is not listening to the voice of the people," he wrote.

Within hours of putting up his online poll, 40,000 people had ­responded with a resounding 84% opposed to the changes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

For A Better Future

Dear Parents and those who hope for a better, more wholesome education for our future generation,

PAGE would appreciate it if, when in full support of PPSMI, you can kindly indicate what ages your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren are. The names of their schools and the town you are currently residing would also prove helpful.

This would populate our database to map out the voices of the people.

For Our Children.

Call for Action NOW!

Tuesday July 14, 2009 - Star Online

Public can still give views

PETALING JAYA: The public can still have their views heard over the reversion of the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English.

“The decision has been made, but the people can still speak up and are entitled to express their views,” said Education Ministry deputy director-general (General Education Operations) Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim yesterday.

Noor Rezan said the decision was made after five round-table meetings and many discussions, but there would be a period of minor changes and adjustments.

“Anything can happen from now till 2012. The Education Minister has stipulated the decision is final, but in the context of saying that, you have to take into consideration the fine-tuning,” she said.

Parents, she said, could call the ministry’s hotline at 03-7723 7070 should they have any strong views or suggestions.

CALL NOW: +603-7723 7070

Monday, July 13, 2009

PPSMI – Teaching and Learning Science and Mathematics in English


This was the catalyst that resulted in the birth of PAGE.

This policy which was implemented in 2003 underwent turbulence in 2008 shortly after the national elections as there were announcements from the Ministry of Education (MoE) that it would be abolished.

Every morning after 7.25 at SK Bukit Damansara, concerned parents mulled around deliberating this proposed change as they opined that the impact of abolishing a much lauded and needed policy would be catastrophic. This not just coming from parents who have big dreams for their children but also from the professionals who witness not just a lack of ability and capability to correspond in English despite the numerous A's scored in examinations, but a sad number of truly successful professionals in the fields of sciences and mathematics as the system of education did not enable them to become thinkers.

Pursuant to the then Minister of Education’s call on parents for feedback on PPSMI, PAGE was set up by parents of SK Bukit Damansara after its PIBG held an EGM on 13 September 2008 and had obtained mandate to appeal to the MoE to maintain with the current policy of PPSMI and, should the policy be abolished, to request that it be an exempted school, still continuing with PPSMI.

Participating Schools

PAGE then a meeting held on 20 September 2008 with parents from 60 schools around Klang Valley and Selangor. They had given their consensus to voice their feedback to maintain the said policy and also to be a participating school that will be allowed to continue with PPSMI.

13 schools from the Rawang area have also requested to be participating schools that will be allowed to continue with PPSMI.

Round Table Discussions by the Ministry of Education

Upon receiving feedback by the then Minister of Education, PAGE was invited by the MoE to present its findings backed by facts at the 4th Round Table Discussion on 21 October 2008. The half hour presentation tabulated the reasons that Science and Mathematics ought to be taught in English to our children.

The presentation also addressed assertions cast by opponents of the policy.

PAGE was again invited for the 5th Round Table Discussion for input of robust discussion on the policy on 16 December 2008.

Numerous press conferences, television interviews and appearances and also press releases and letters were executed from the time of its formation to current.

With the new appointment of YB Deputy Prime Minister as the new Minister of Education, PAGE had written several times to request for audience. That was never fulfilled due to the absence of response on the part of the Minister of Education.

PPSMI Abolished

The Minister of Education’s announcement on 8 July 2009 that PPSMI will be abolished was a very big blow not only for PAGE and parents nationwide who did not have the opportunity to be represented through PAGE, but also the children.

Outraged as parents may be as that tantamount to regressing the journey of our children’s education, it is a decision that all must live with for the moment.

Moving Forward – Exemption

Thus comes the inevitable, seeking an exemption for participating schools to continue, based on will and capability, with PPSMI.

PAGE holds strongly the notion that children who have potential to excel must NOT in any way be impeded by those who may need a bit more coaching.

PAGE needs the numbers for this to present to the MoE. The target is that by August 2009, data can be presented for due consideration.

To this, please make that choice as parents and provide PAGE with the feedback it needs.

For Our Children.