Success with the DLP

Three hundred Dual Language Programme (DLP) schools have quadrupled to over 1,200 in one year. Response is overwhelming – and voluntary. StarEducate speaks to stakeholders about the DLP’s success, and its future.

SMJK Kwang Hua was among the first to apply for the Dual Language Programme (DLP). One year on, the school’s principal, Law Choon Lee, says it was a sound decision.

The parents, teachers and board of directors, were unanimous in wanting the programme, he says.

There hasn’t been a complaint since. Now other parents are trying to get their children into the school because of the DLP, he says.

Although their primary lessons were in Mandarin, they’re able to cope. The medium of instruction is not an issue. It’s how hard you are willing to work. Even those not in the top classes can keep up after a short adjustment period.

He hopes to see more DLP-trained teachers.

“We must continue with the DLP. It’s the way forward and for the good of our children. When these students continue their tertiary education, everything will be in English. There is so much content on the Internet that they can use, and almost all of it is in English.”

The rise in demand, says Universiti Malaya’s (UM) Language and Literacy Education department head Assoc Prof Dr Juliana Othman, could be due to more schools being ready for the DLP.

When the programme was introduced last year, it was only made available in high performance schools where the majority of students speak good English, and the facilities are readily available, she says.

“One year down the road, more schools have the necessary resources, more books have been translated from Bahasa Malaysia (BM) to English, and more teachers have been trained to teach math and science subjects in English.

“These factors, coupled with a growing number of parents who value English medium instruction, have led to the growing number of DLP schools,” she offers.

Programme effectiveness

The DLP, she says, may facilitate the learning of English, but it’s “too strong a claim” to credit the DLP for students performing better in their English tests.

“Did all the DLP students sit for the same English test? If they didn’t, we cannot conclusively say that the DLP has led to them doing better in English because the standard of the tests would vary in the different schools.

“There are many reasons why students perform better. These include greater motivation, extra tuition, their environment, family encouragement, and stronger teacher support. The DLP could just be one of the push factors,” she says, adding that more studies are needed to see whether DLP students did better in math and science subjects when they were taught in BM, Tamil or Mandarin, or after they were taught in English.

She says it’s important to be clear on the DLP’s aim. Is the goal to give students more access to math and science reference materials, which are mostly in English, or is it to improve language proficiency, she asks.

“If the aim is to improve general language proficiency, then we should be looking at the Highly Immersive Programme (HIP), not the DLP.

Read more @

Comments are closed.