The government today decided to end the policy of teaching mathematics and science in English or PPSMI in both primary and secondary schools effective from 2012.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in an announcement today, said the two subjects will be taught in Bahasa Melayu in national schools and Tamil and Chinese for vernacular schools.
The Education Minister added that the changes would not affect Form Six and matriculation programmes.
"The government made the decision after studying closely research on PPSMI that shows that PPSMI could not be implemented as expected," Muhyiddin told a special press conference here.
He said the decision was fair and made carefully after witnessing the implementation in the first six years after its introduction.
He also denied that the decision to scrap the policy was politically motivated.
"This decision is not political, we made the decision not for political mileage. What is Manek Urai compared to the future of our children," said Muhyiddin.
He however denied that the PPSMI policy had failed.
"I wouldn't say it was a complete failure, but it did not achieve what it was supposed to achieve," he said.
Introduced in 2003, the policy has been heavily criticised by Chinese educationists and Malay-language activists, but a recent survey by the independent Merdeka Center showed that 58 per cent of 1,060 voters interviewed supported the policy.
Muhyiddin had admitted in Parliament last month that students had not shown significant improvement in the two subjects over the past six years.
But he said today the intention of the policy, which is to improve English language proficiency among Malaysian students, will continue to be upheld.
The measures to be introduced include recruiting some 14,000 new English language teachers. Currently there are more than 30,000 English teachers nationwide.
Muhyiddin also said the lesson duration for English language would also be doubled for lower primary students to 120 minutes a week, while for upper primary it would be increased from 90 minutes to 120 minutes a week.
For secondary students, the duration will be increased from 200 minutes to 280 minutes a week.