Thursday, May 07, 2009

PPSMI IN A LIMBO

PPSMI is heading to its early demise now. People are talking about the pros and the cons. The government is trying to persuade and convince the publics pertaining to its relevance in this time of science and technology and globalization era. Where as the Opposition doesn’t share the same view and trying to capitalize the issues for political mileage. We see lots of demos around KL lately protesting the use of English in teaching and learning Science and Math Subjects. These people are willing to go all out to the extent of making themselves heard clearly by DYMM. Ironically this was not the case when PPSMI was proposed and implemented during Tun Mahathir. Why now? Why making it a fuss after all these years? Lots of money spent and not to mention the effort made by the teachers and all educators. We are already half way reaching our goal and all of a sudden we are being forced to pack up and leave.

People were so happy and excited about it. We were excited as well! Mind you the extra 5% incentive being credited into our salary. Teachers received the much awaited “state of the art” so called teaching and learning devices namely the laptops and lcd projectors. The government had to spend nearly a billion ringgit just to make that first few small steps towards academic excellence. It was a blessing for all the teachers nationwide. All of the sudden we were showered with devices which we would never dreamt of owning what more to buy them?? It was expensive buying a laptop during those days. The cheapest would cost around RM4500. But now it becomes a toy. Ironically I don’t own a laptop myself . I was one of the lucky teachers given the opportunity to use the devices. And I got a MAC IBOOK G4 and boy it was durable. Been using it for more than 6 years now and it is still in good shape except for the LCD Projector which is not working maybe due to the Bulb which has reached its life expectancy. 5% incentive is not much compared to 10% received by non graduate teachers but it was enough to lend us some sort of support in sustaining our monthly needs. Well, we were not let off the hook so easily. It comes with a price and its not for free. English teachers like us were given the task to supervise math and science teachers to build their confidence in using English in their lessons. Besides that we were also instructed to give courses and support groups call “Buddy Support Group” Well there is no such thing as free meal! Still the money is good. Throughout the implementation since its inception we heard grouses from the teachers. They had a hard time to get use themselves with the new environment. Though not all but quite a number of the teachers failed miserably in the process. E-TEMS were introduced to train them. Lots of money spent but the results were bad. Teachers having mental block unable to follow the course. Their motivations were somehow gradually failing on them and they turned to teaching in Bahasa Melayu. Last year, PPSMI teachers went for an assessment test/ The test was more or less similar to MUET examination format testing their 4 skills and I was one of the examiners who were given the task to supervise a group of examiners in my district. We were utterly shocked by the encounter. Just imagine, majority of them unable to speak with grammatically correct English. Worst still quite a number if them could only speak at phrase level. I don’t have the stats. Only the Ministry has it and they should know by now the level of proficiency among the PPSMI teachers in Malaysia. Based from the feedback from other examiners they also did poorly in written test. So this is the real situation suffered by PPSMI teachers. Maybe based on these feedbacks the GMP is harping on this issue to end PPSMI for good .As for me PPSMI is not that bad after all. It is a fact English is the common language used worldwide. Many parents see its benefit. It is just that many people are just reluctant to see its importance or plain ignorance or they are having personal agendas.I do not know. One should master the language in order to capitalise knowledge and information . Many parents want it to continue too. Malaysians need to move forward as knowledge society. PPSMI should be continued but of course the Education Ministry must try to look into the real problem affecting the implementation of PPSMI. My suggestion is gearing up the teachers themselves is the best possible solution in order to make PPSMI a success. Lavishing them with laptops is not important but the change of mindset is. Gudluck MOE!

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