Malaysia: Dual-language exam papers for PMR students

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Sep 28 13:32:12 UTC 2005

>>From the New Straits Times,

Dual-language exam papers for PMR students
Koh Lay Chin


Form Three students sitting for their Penilaian Menengah Rendah
examinations next week will have dual-language exam papers.  They have
also been provided with a 100-page glossary to help them understand the
different terms before they sit for the examination. The Education
Ministry's decision to roll out thousands of words is part of its ongoing
"intervention programme" to prepare the students for their first major
examination involving Science and Mathematics in English on Tuesday.

Education director-general Datuk Ahamad Sipon, confirming this, said: "The
students will also be allowed to answer in either English or Bahasa
Malaysia. "This will make it easier for them. "The dual-language
examination papers will continue till 2007. They will be fully English in
2008." Ahamad said the glossary, given to Form One and Form Three and
other students, had proven beneficial.

The glossary is comprehensive, with Form One to Form Three Science and
Maths terms, explanations, diagrams and concepts in English. They have
been handed out since last month to all schools nationwide. "We had been
going around and talking to teachers and students. "The glossary was given
to every school in preparation for the PMR. They have been very useful and
we have seen an improvement," Ahamad told the New Straits Times.

He has travelled to Selangor, Perak, the Federal Territory, Kedah and
Kelantan the past few months, and is now in Sarawak to monitor
developments and find remedies for weaknesses in the teaching of the two
subjects in English. "We are checking whether the efforts under our
intervention programmes are working. "In addition to the diagnostic
assessments, we have also been conducting collaborative monitoring with
our school inspectorates. I have been happy with the results so far."

Ahamad said the ministry would wait for the results of the PMR examination
to see if further efforts were needed to improve the policys
implementation. He said after the diagnostic assessments in July, the
ministry decided to implement several measures and suggestions from
teachers to help their students. These included introducing English terms
in the two subjects in the lower forms to better prepare them for classes
in secondary school.

"We have started using English for the subjects in Standard Six. "In fact,
after the UPSR, pupils are doing orientation classes in English which
would help them in the transition to the programme next year," he said.
The policy to teach the subjects in English, aimed at arresting the
general decline in English among students, was introduced in 2003 to
Standard One, Form One and Lower Six students, with subsequent batches
being taught in English.

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