PETALING JAYA: The "soft landing" programme for students studying science and mathematics in English following the scrapping of the PPSMI (the Malay abbreviation for the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English) in 2012 in favour of MBMMBI (Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening the English Language) ends this year: meaning the two subjects will be taught in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) in Form One next year.
Given this scenario, the introduction of the Dual-Language Programme (DLP) as a pilot project in 300 selected primary and secondary schools is seen as a lifeline for schools wishing to continue teaching Science and Mathematics in English.
Parents who want their children who are entering Form One next year to be taught in English for the two subjects are watching this development with keen interest.
According to a report in Sin Chew Daily today, many secondary schools are flooded with calls from parents eager to find out whether these schools would teach Science and Mathematics in English, before enrolling their children.
When the government scrapped PPSMI four years ago, barring any parental objection, primary schools were allowed to continue to teach Science and Mathematics in English under the "soft landing" programme.
But the last batch of pupils covered by the "soft landing" programme was promoted to Form One this year.
As such, starting from next year, schools not selected for the DLP will have to teach Science and Mathematics in BM.
DLP allows for English to be fully used in the teaching and learning of Science, Mathematics and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
However, due to the strict conditions to be met for the DLP and the limited quota of 300 available, many schools wishing to join the pilot programme were shut out.
Nevertheless, the ministry has allowed schools intending to join the programme next year to submit their applications to the respective district education office.
Meanwhile, former Malaysian Conforming Secondary School Principals Council president Goh Boon Poh pointed out that in the era of globalisation where parents want their children to maximise their chances to learn English, the reintroduction of the teaching Science and Mathematics in BM may result in fewer students opting for government schools.