Several weeks ago, Malay parent groups held a rally in front of the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya in an effort to convince the government to hold off on implementing the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB) until after the general elections.
The groups — Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE), Parents of Selangor (CPS), Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education (MAGPIE), and Herald of Penang for Education (HOPE) — believe that the MEB doesn’t address the underlying problems of the school curricula. With the elections approaching, parents were concerned that if the MEB becomes an electoral issue, it could lead to misguided decisions that ultimately undermine the education system.
During the rally, the parent groups also called for the reinstatement of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), a policy that will be replaced with the Upholding Bahasa Malaysia, Strengthening the English language (MBMMBI). “MBMMBI is a language policy while PPSMI is about learning Science and Maths. One cannot replace the other,” said CPS coordinator Shamsudin Hamid.
Although the Ministry stated that students already enrolled in PPSMI would continue until they finished school, textbooks written in English are no longer being distributed. Some schools have already gone ahead and abolished the PPSMI policy early. Mak Chee Kin, MAGPIE chairman, commented “From what we see, the government just wants PPSMI to die a natural death.”
These parents know all too well the challenges of influencing policy development. Since last year, they’ve delivered seven memorandums and thousands of letters in an attempt to get the ministry attention. Members are now considering the possibility of electing a non-politician to head the ministry.
Given all these recent pushes, we can’t help but admire the hardiness and unwavering resolve of Malay’s educational community.
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