After 6 years of implementation, people are questioning. In fact, it has been an endless polemic since the government introduced PPSMI (Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English). Now that there is no Tun M to back the policy, some quarters even dare to take the matter on the street, just like what we saw last Saturday.
Gerakan Memansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) claimed that the implementation of PPSMI has challenged the status of Bahasa Melayu, and can be a threat or a show of disrespect for our national language. Some people claimed that they are concern about the rural folks, especially the poor fishermen, farmers, estate workers etc. whom they believed will not benefited from this policy.
I am all for my Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa ibundaku! But, I can't see how PPSMI can be a threat for Bahasa Melayu (if that is the main reason to scrap the policy). PPSMI doesn't mean that we ignore and disrespect our national language. This issue has now been highly politicized - read here and here.
Should we appreciate the real objectives of the policy? The policy (is said) aimed at improving the English proficiency of our children. How? It helps to increase the usage of English in more subjects other than English itself. But, why not introduce more hours for English lessons and do not mess around with math and science? Apa pun, polisi ini dah dilaksana sejak sekian lama... nak berpatah balik ke?
What about students from the rural area? Why are they struggling with PPSMI? Is it true that there is a problem with teachers' proficiency in English? If that is the case then - 'rubbish in, rubbish out'. That's the reason why the students are struggling, no matter where they are from! If the teachers cannot understand and converse well in English, how can you expect the students to be able to understand what they are learning? This is also one of the reason why these teachers are against the policy. They can't deliver.
Saya juga orang kampung dan berasal dari Perlis. Ibu dan bapa saya tidak tahu langsung berbahasa Inggeris. Kakak saya mengikuti sekolah aliran Inggeris yang ada pada masa itu. Beliau kini berjaya di dalam kerjayanya dan sangat fasih berbahasa Inggeris. Sudah tentu jauh lebih baik dari saya yang belajar dalam aliran Melayu! Saya kenal ramai rakan-rakan yang sama sekolah dengan beliau dulu, mereka semuanya dapat menguasai bahasa Inggeris dengan baik, pun begitu ada yang kini menjadi guru dan mengajar Bahasa Melayu di sekolah dan Institut Perguruan. Bahasa ibunda tetap disanjung.
We can't deny that English is lingua franca of the world. We must not send a wrong message that the lingua franca is to be rejected. Sending the wrong message to the kampong kids will mean that they and their teachers will never see the importance of English - read here.
Today, many graduates who are not proficient in English fail to get a decent job. Ability to speak English is always one of the criteria in the selection process of employees. I have conducted many interviews. If the candidate speaks good English, they will normally get some extra marks. If you are the interviewer, I believed you'll do that most of the time too. So, if we love our children, then English is the way to go.
Maybe the government made mistakes 6 years ago by implementing the policy too sudden. The problem with teachers proficiency in English should have been tackled first. More personnel with credibility should have been employed. It has been more than half a decade. This policy should not be eliminated. It should be improvised.