Hornbill Unleashed

January 29, 2013

Embargo education blueprint until after GE, urge parents

Koh Jun Lin

Several parent groups are urging the government to embargo the final version of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 until after the general election so that it would not be politicised.

They feared that if the blueprint becomes an electoral issue, it would lead to knee-jerk reactions that would ultimately undermine the education system. The report is expected to be tabled in a cabinet meeting on this coming Wednesday.

“If (Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak) believes that education should not be politicised, then show us. Do not make it part of your election manifesto.

NONE“Keep it until after elections, study it. What we don’t want to happen on Wednesday is for the cabinet to say ‘yes’ to the blueprint.

“What we would like the cabinet to do is to deliberate over it because it is a very important decision that will affect millions of children and the future of the nation,” said Parent Action Group for Education (Page) chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim (left) today.

When it was pointed out that the electorate has a right to know what the contesting political parties have in mind for the nation’s education policy, she said, “Yeah, but don’t use the blueprint. It has to be studied further, what’s the rush?”

She was speaking at a joint press conference with representatives from Concerned Parents Selangor (CPS), Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) and Herald of Penang for Education (Hope) to announce a pro-Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) rally in Putrajaya next month.

The groups are disgruntled that despite having ‘significant representation’ of their causes in all 14 dialogues sessions in the run up of the blueprint’s preliminary report, its demands are only mentioned in passing in one sentence in the report in the language section.

NONE“PPSMI is not about language. It is about knowledge,” said CPS coordinator Shamsudin Hamid (left), who pointed out that most publications about science and mathematics are in English, while Malaysia’s performance in the two subjects are worsening.

They are also unhappy with the implementation of the government’s ‘soft landing approach’ in the transition of the Malay-language medium, where students who entered the schooling system under PPSMI are allowed complete the rest of their education under the same system.

They claim that the implementation has been plagued with various problems such as shortage of science and mathematics textbooks in English, workbooks being distributed in Malay when it should be in English, and some schools not offering the classes in English at all.

Therefore, the four groups are holding a rally at the Education Ministry’s headquarters in Putrajaya on Feb 19 at 10am to handover a memorandum spelling out their demands, expecting the turnout to be in the thousands.

Their demands are:

  • Offer PPSMI as an option to students and their parents.
  • Reintroduce English-medium schools.
  • Appoint an educationist or other technocrats as the next education minister instead of a political appointee.

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