Wed, 6 Dec 2023



DLP facing a natural death
Published on: Sunday, July 30, 2023
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THE Education Minister needs to be reminded of the importance of the optional Dual Language Programme (DLP), and how and why it was conceived. Ministers and Directors-General come and go, but parents are here to stay.

It was in early 2015 that the Economic Council, chaired by the sitting prime minister, demanded a radical approach towards enhancing English proficiency after seeing the damaging effects of poor command of English on youth’s chances for employment.

An English syndicated lab was set up and close to 100 stakeholders were invited to participate in the effort. High-ranking officials from the Education Ministry (MOE), state education departments, district education offices, and industry players including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Malaysian Employers Federation, the British Council, heads of colleges, university professors, non-governmental organisations and advocacy groups such as PAGE ­rigorously engaged for four weeks to come up with a concise and workable plan.

On June 11, 2015, the then Director-General of Education announced the DLP to the public, aptly calling it “a defining moment” in the history of the MOE. It was clearly stated that the schools conducting DLP had received written permission from parents, were adequately resourced and teachers were ready. There was no Bahasa Melayu (BM) requirement whatsoever.

It has come to our knowledge that principals have been made to turn existing DLP classes overnight into non-DLP ones just weeks into the new term, disrupting students’ mental health and parents’ peace of mind.

Parents of children at the affected schools are forced to accept non-DLP classes while the pupils are subjected to discreet BM assessments, if at all, to determine whether they are suitable for DLP or otherwise.

Oddly, parents have been told that if their child’s BM proficiency is poor, he/she would be placed in a non-DLP class. But if the child’s BM proficiency is above average, he/she will be put in a DLP class. The perceived risk is that if the child’s BM proficiency is poor at six years old, the likelihood of failing BM in SPM is high. This is truly mind-boggling.

Parents who want DLP for their children are now running around like headless chickens because principals and school leaders are preventing them from seeking external help. The Education Minister and her ­ministry have failed to respond to their concerns and appeals, perhaps hoping that they ­(parents) will get tired and give up.

We also understand that the fully residential schools under MOE, besides the 11 premier ones such as Malay College Kuala Kangsar and Tunku Kurshiah College, may undergo the same fate.

There appears to be a ­nefarious attempt by unseen hands to reduce the number of DLP classes.

This is not a legacy anyone would want to leave behind. Instead, the MOE should be developing the DLP further, in line with the government’s aspirations to ensure that the labour workforce is ready for the so-called high-value and skilled job opportunities of the future.

We urge the prime minister to intervene to ensure that the DLP is given the full support it deserves. Abolish the BM require­ment, which was added at the last minute to appease the language nationalists, automatically halving the number of schools that can choose to do the programme DLP. This is not a zero sum game.

Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim

PAGE (Parent Action Group For Education) Malaysia Chair

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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