20 November 2023
Press Statement by MCA Youth Secretary-General Saw Yee Fung
MOE urged to Reassess Overnight DLP Policy Shifts and Adhere to Tenets of Education 5.0
In recent developments, a group of parents with children in Standard One have expressed their discontent with the abrupt changes in the Dual Language Programme (DLP) have been made to turn existing DLP classes overnight into non-DLP ones halfway into the new term — a move that has essentially removed the option for their children to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in English.
First introduced in Budget 2016, DLP was designed to enhance English proficiency, increase employability, and contribute to the development of a more competitive workforce. The recent policy shift has thereby left parents questioning the government's commitment to the original goals of the DLP.
Sudden language transitions can be challenging even for adults, let alone for 7-year-old children who have been learning Mathematics and Science in English all this while. Prior to enrolling in the DLP, parents were required to provide consent, acknowledging the school's DLP status and granting approval for their children to be taught in English. As such, the hurried imposition of Bahasa Melayu (BM) as the medium of teaching not only breaches the original agreement between parents and school, but also presents a significant hurdle for young learners who are now required to adapt to an entirely new language medium.
Amidst prevailing criticisms, the Ministry of Education has conceded a breakdown in communication; nonetheless, it asserted that BM remains the primary language of instruction in all education institutions within the National Education System. While we recognise the importance of preserving the overall level of national language proficiency, these changes should not come at the expense of the fundamental goal of education to provide a high-quality learning experience that cultivates a more capable and competitive human capital for Malaysia.
In light of overwhelming parental concerns, we call upon the government to reevaluate its approach to DLP classes. MCA Youth believes that a comprehensive and transparent dialogue is long overdue between the government and stakeholders to ensure DLP evolves in a manner that truly benefits the students.
Instead of introducing additional barriers, the government must explore alternative solutions that align with the tenets of the Education 5.0 Framework; this entails a stronger focus on leveraging digital technology to establish a modern, inclusive, and forward-thinking learning infrastructure.