Saturday October 1, 2011
English-medium schools unlikely
By PRIYA KULASAGARAN
SERDANG: English-medium schools are unlikely to make a comeback due to the country's education policy, said the Deputy Prime Minister.
The current policy required the Malay language to be the medium of instruction in national schools, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“This is a question of the national education policy.
“It is not possible for us to set up national English-medium schools unless changes are made to the policy and the National Education Act (1996). It's a different story for private schools,” said Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, after attending a dialogue session with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) academic staff and students here.
“However, we have consented for national-type (vernacular) schools to use the Chinese and Tamil languages (as the medium of instruction).”
Section 17 of the National Education Act 1996 states that the national language must be the main medium of instruction in all educational institutions under the national education system.
The Act also provides an exemption to this rule for national-type schools or any other institution exempted by the Minister himself.
Earlier at the dialogue session, Muhyiddin said that while the English language was important to master, the national language should not be forgotten.
“We don't want the national language to be left behind, but at the same time, we cannot deny the importance of the English language.
“This is why the Government has taken many measures, such as employing native speakers as teachers, increasing the hours for English in the classroom; if this is not enough, we will introduce more initiatives,” he said.
On a separate matter, Muhyiddin said UPM might have the chance to take over Serdang Hospital as its own.
“We understand that UPM is the only university with a medical faculty that is yet to have its own hospital.
“The Higher Education Minister has already prepared the necessary working paper, and we will present this to the Cabinet in the near future,” he said.