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Sabah Department decides not to follow Sarawak on Bilingual Programme
Published on: Thursday, April 18, 2024
By: Raisha Dania
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Sabah Department decides not to follow Sarawak on Bilingual Programme
“So for now, Sabah will follow as suggested by the MoE. We cannot look at Sarawak because (the situation) in Sabah is different,” Raisin said. - BERNAMA pix (right) for illustration only.
Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Education Department (JPN) has decided to follow the Education Ministry’s (MoE) ruling which mandates at least one class of instruction entirely in Bahasa Malaysia for Year One students in schools implementing the Bilingual Programme (DLP) starting this year.

Its Director Datuk Raisin Saidin said the decision was taken after JPN Sabah considered several factors that needed to be taken into account including the adequacy of teachers for the purpose (DLP).

“We agree with the MoE’s decision because if we follow the example of the Sarawak Education Department (rejecting the Ministry’s new DLP policy), it will involve many other implications.

“So we have refined this matter. We really encourage every school in the Sabah district to choose certain schools to conduct DLP.

“Basically, the selection of schools to implement the DLP is influenced by various factors and schools are asked to apply to the JPN Sabah.

“So for now, Sabah will follow as suggested by the MoE. We cannot look at Sarawak because (the situation) in Sabah is different,” he said, after the Jelajah Madani Landskap Baharu programme held at the Sabah National Culture and Arts Department (JKKN) Auditorium, Wednesday.

He did not say how many schools in Sabah are currently offering the DLP and whether this number had increased or declined over the years.

Kota Kinabalu District Education Officer Suhaimi Matshah was also present.

Commenting further, Raisin said that in implementing DLP, it is not only subject to the views of the State Government.

“We need to take into account the adequacy of the number of teachers. Teacher readiness is also very important when we implement this DLP. 

“Schools and departments need to ensure that the programme does not stop within six years.

“We have to make sure that teachers are skilled enough to carry out teaching (specifically for DLP) remain there (in a school).

“I noticed that it is very difficult to implement in Sabah because the mobility or movement of the teachers is quite significant.

“Secondly, in terms of students’ achievement and mastery. Students must be good (proficient) in Malay and also requests from parents. If only some (parents) want it to be implemented, then it cannot be implemented.

“For schools that are unable to offer DLP, we give another offer (to students) which is to move to a school that offers DLP. That’s our way,” he said. 

Many parents in Sabah were concerned with the Minister’s last-minute new ruling last November that schools must first show there is a class that can offer Bahasa Malaysia before request for a DLP class offering English could be entertained.

They felt that it went against the Prime Minister’s pledge that while Bahasa Malaysia would be strengthened it must not be at the expense of English.

They agreed that while it was important to be well-versed in Bahasa Malaysia for national identity, it was English that guaranteed jobs in a highly competitive and globalised world.

They also pointed out to the millions of graduates who are unemployed at home and are also unable to work abroad at the same time because of their handicap in English.

The Education Ministry’s policy had also been attributed for an increasing number of financially well off Malaysians now enrolling their children in international schools.

On the new education roadmap for the state, he said the state Education Department remains committed towards creating a new education landscape under a seven point target to create excellence for students, schools and the education system.

Among the goals is to achieve the National Average Grade Performance (GPN) for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) from this year at the school and district level.

He said among the focuses was to create a centre of academic excellence at schools with boarding facilities.

Other targets included rehabilitating dilapidated schools and reaching zero disciplinary cases among education staff in 2024.

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