KUALA LUMPUR: The Dual Language Programme (DLP) will proceed at 1,215 existing schools that have adopted the programme, the Education Ministry said today.
The ministry has also granted approvals to an additional 88 schools that have expressed their interest to implement the DLP, bringing the total number of schools with DLP to 1,303 schools.
In a statement, the ministry said all 1,215 schools would continue with the programme and they can offer the DLP to the new batch of Year One and Form One students.
“For the additional 88 schools, the programme is only available for the new batch of Year One and Form One students.
“DLP will begin on Jan 7 (Sunday) for schools in Kedah, Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor. For the other states, the programme will begin on Jan 8 (Monday),” the ministry said.
It was also stated that special circular letters and DLP implementation guidelines will be issued by the first week of January.
“The schools’ management have been asked to make necessary preparations to ensure the smooth implementation of DLP.”
The issue of the DLP postponement created confusion among teachers, parents and students after a blog run by “Cikgu Nurul” said a state education department had allegedly issued a statement that the programme had been postponed until a directive and further implementation guidelines were issued by the ministry.
Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan assured parents and teachers that the ministry has decided to make the pilot DLP programme a permanent feature of Malaysia’s education system.
He said the disruption was due to the fact that the ministry is finalising and strengthening the new guidelines for the requirements needed for schools to participate in the DLP.
“These new guidelines will be finalised today and are aimed at enhancing the programme.
“Once this is done the ministry will make a formal announcement next week with no disturbance to existing classes being conducted,” he told the New Strait Times.
Kamalanathan further said all schools are free to start enrolment for new students and the ministry is committed in ensuring the success of this programme in its entirety.
“The baseline study has been successful and in the long-term, it will definitely be a key instrument in reaching the nation’s National Education Blueprint target to make our children more competent and competitive at a global standard,” he said.
National Union of Teaching Profession Malaysia (NUTP) secretary-general, Harry Tan Huat Hock said he welcomed the ministry’s statement which had cleared the air.
“Since this is a start-up for some of the schools concerned, there may be some teething problems; NUTP welcomes any feedback from the teachers so that we can forward them to the ministry to tweak the programme or logistics.
“We advise teachers to always refer to the ministry's website for any official information and do not be carried away with unconfirmed reports from the social media,” he added.
According to educationist Prof Mohd Mustafa Mohd Ghazali, the use of English as a medium of teaching has built confidence in students to converse in the language, especially at a later stage.
He said this was proven at the universities where classes are conducted in English.
“In my experience, when English was used as a medium of instruction in classes, students who do not speak English at home have shown improvement even if it was hard for them initially,” he said, adding that by mastering the English language, they can easily score employment.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had in Oct 2015 announced that 300 schools would be involved in the DLP pilot project which gave schools the option to teach Science and Mathematics in English.
Parents were also given the freedom to enrol their children in the programme.
Under DLP, English will be used fully in the teaching and learning of Science, Mathematics, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.