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K'gau school overjoyed over clearance for DLP
Published on: Friday, January 12, 2018

Keningau: SMK Apin-Apin Principal Dorothea Carena Onong is overjoyed that the clouds surrounding the school's inclusion in the Dual Language Programme (DLP) – surprisingly the only Sabah school to seek inclusion in the programme to hold Science and Maths in English this year – have cleared.

"She is happy that the school's application for one DLP class for the current year has been successful," said the Senior Assistant (Afternoon Session) Maida Usuk.

She said the principal, who is keen to implement the DLP, had the support of parents and teachers alike, and preparations were made following the announcement of the 2017 UPSR results before the end of last year.

Maida said the Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG) raised no objection. Parents were happy and felt that their children must rise to the challenge posed by the DLP. Some of the parents were civil servants who knew the importance of English for their children's future.

"The DLP class has 25 students who were selected after sitting for a diagnostic test in Science, Mathematics, Bahasa Malaysia and English designed by the school. They passed all the four subjects.

This is in addition to their UPSR performance last year," she said when contacted.

According to Maida, nearly 200 students signed up for the test but the outcome had to be limited to 25 based on the results, the school's resources and availability of English-trained teachers.

There are five non-DLP classes for Form One.

"The results of the test showed that the 25 students are capable of learning Science and Mathematics in English.

The school then informed the parents concerned and all gave their consent," she said.

State Education Director Datuk Hjh Maimunah Hj Suhaibul said Monday, SMK Apin-Apin, Keningau's application for one Form One class for the DLP this year was been approved by the Education Ministry.

On the lukewarm response from schools towards the programme in Sabah this year, she said the school that is interested in implementing the DLP must have adequate resources in terms of infrastructure such as classrooms and additional reference books for teaching Science and Mathematics in English.

Secondly, the school's readiness is gauged from the number of pupils/students opting for English as a medium of instruction," Maimunah said.

The Director pointed out that the third equally important factor for consideration is parental support and consent for their children to be enrolled in DLP classes.

"Also, we look at the school's achievement in the SPM Bahasa Melayu subject which must be at a minimum average grade of 4.59. As for the Bahasa Melayu performance (Writing & Comprehension) at UPSR level, the average grade is rated at 1.86," she said.

After several days of uncertainty the Education Ministry clarified that the DLP programme stays – much to the relief of many parents and schools.

The ministry said there was no change to the DLP policy; in fact, 88 "new" schools will be added to the list, bringing the total number of schools offering the DLP this year to 1,303.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamala­nathan said the DLP is "a permanent feature of our education system".

He said the disruption in the launch of this year's batch of DLP schools came about because the ministry needed time to finalise new guidelines regarding the programme.

"The ministry is committed to ensuring the success of this programme."

The DLP, which was announced during Budget 2016, allows selected schools to teach the two subjects in English.

There are now almost 40,000 students under the programme nationwide involving 1,400 schools.

Year Four pupils in both new and existing Dual Language Programme (DLP) schools would also be allowed to enrol in such classes this year once schools have received their parents' written consent.

Schools are not prevented from offering the DLP to Year Four pupils this year, said a source in the Ministry.

As Year Four pupils have spent the first three years of their primary education in Bahasa Malaysia, schools need to pay special attention to ensure these pupils are able to cope with the switch in the medium of instruction. - Mary Chin

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