PPSMI is the result of a policy decision made by the Malaysian government as the result from the Minister’s Council Meeting held on 19 July 2002.The PPSMI’s implementation was carried out in stages beginning with the 2003 schooling session. The pioneers were all Year 1 students for Primary Schools, Form 1 and Lower 6 students for Secondary Schools.The full implementation of PPSMI was in 2007 for Secondary Schools and 2008 for Primary Schools.
The rationale for the decision to change the medium of instruction from the Malay Language to English for the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics subjects was made based on the government’s concern on the nation’s human capital development towards achieving the standard of a developed country, as well as an early preparation to compete in the era of globalization.It is widely known that the field of science and mathematics form the basis and have a crucial role in the progress and development of a country. Various innovations and discoveries in these two fields happen rapidly and information access is mostly in the English language.English language is also the language spoken internationally and mastery in this language would allow easy access to information in these fields.
Basically, the policy decision to implement PPSMI was made to increase students’ mastery in science and mathematics in view of the fact that most of the sources are available in the English language. Indirectly, it is also hoped that the implementation of PPSMI would contribute to the enhancing of students’ command of the language.
I for one, support teaching science and mathematics in English but its implementation was rushed without much preparation or proper planning. It is my opinion that this policy has to be deferred and these 2 subjects needs to be taught in Bahasa Malaysia or the students are going to face problems and be victimize in the long term.
It is a well known fact that the proficiency of English language among our school teachers is surprisingly and pathetically below acceptable standards. There was even rumors of cases where students corrected the English of their English teachers themselves!(imagine the shame!). If teachers teaching English in Malaysian schools are incapable to conduct themselves well and fluently, that would reflect on the standard of English of the mathematic and science teachers as well. These teachers are literally being "forced" to teach in English, a language which many of them can barely speak yet teach. Coupled with the equally low standard of English among students, the lessons in science and mathematic become bored. Teachers have no interest to teach them while the students too have no interest to learn them because they don't understand what the teachers are talking about at all.
Teaching science and mathematics in English is not the only way to improve the students' proficiency in English. Instead, the government should increase the number of hours allocated for each English lessons and hire addition retired English teachers or someone with a good English background to replace some of the current English teachers who cannot understand or converse well in English to teach the subject. Similar policy should be applied to teachers training colleges as well. At the same time, teachers can introduce English terms for some science and mathematics words but not teaching the subject in English to the students.The teaching of science and maths in English can then be carried out effectively when the standard of English in both students and teachers have improved.
Thus, I believe that the teaching of science and math subjects should be postponed until the above are achieved first. There is just no rushing perfection, eh?!