Monday, March 16, 2009

Maths and Science: Back to Bahasa Malaysia?

The word is that the teaching of Maths and Science in primary schools will go back to Bahasa Malaysia but English would be used at secondary school level. No decision has been officially made as the Education Minister is only expected to table a paper on the issue this Friday. A decision has to be made and announced soon but the word is that the Cabinet is expected to agree to the use of Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil or Chinese in primary schools.

The issue has been hotly debated with Malay nationalist groups, together with PAS leaders, going to the streets to protest against the continued used of English to teach Maths and Science. Chinese educationist groups had also insisted the same, saying the use of Mandarin was a more effective way of teaching the two subjects, especially Maths.

It is not clear whether the Ministry would increase the teaching hours of English in schools as a compromise. If the Malay and Chinese groups claimed they, too, support the need to improve the proficiency of English among our children, then they should push for more hours to teach English in schools. Many of those who joined the street protest were products of MCE and HSC. Some would have even sent their children for their education in UK or US

It is sad that when the statistics showed that more of our children preferred to use English to answer their exam questions, we have to submit to the pressure of these groups. Surely they are not the only stake holders in this issue.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

the main issue here in the inability of rural students to understand english. this is due to the poor english teaching methods practised. for them learning mathematics in english is like learning the subject in russian or japanese. as such most if them grow up without basiic understanding of science and maths.
it is okay for the urban families to look at tbe advantages of english as a medium of instruction. when you are blessed with opportunities and able teachers, you must not deny the majority of the people to enjoy the opportunity to have their children learn biology or algebra.
ministers and former prime ministers send the kids overseas to study. they know nothing!

Anonymous said...

I think another demo should be done by the parents to ensure that maths and science will be continue taught in english.Poor children,being the victim of political game.

AJ7 said...

That would mean that the students would be worse off when they enter Form One. I can only imagine this... majority of the students with poor English not being able to grasp much of what is taught and losing interest in the process. If the findings really show that English impede their learning, then use BM all thru secondary years as well... but I doubt the quality of our grads will go up any time soon.

Anak Perelih said...

More ineffective English language subject hours is no use... what GMP want is the English Language subject to be more effective and interesting than what we have now... and in the same time Math and science subject must be in bahasa/tamil/mandarin...

KH Blogger said...

To the first anonymous commenter:
It is going to be worse for the rural pupils to suddenly switch to English in Form 1. Why not continue to give pupils a choice of either BM or English? Speak to native BM speakers who have done well in science and maths (doctors, engineers, IT specialists, technocrats) and ask them for their frank opinion. Having said that, we should be embracing and not limiting choice. The Government should be pro-choice, not make self-defeating options.
Dear Dato': Something must be done before irreparable damage is done to our children in schools now. As a parent, I would not like switching back to BM, Chinese or Tamil.
Thank you

Idzan Ismail said...

Hi Chun Wai
Yep. We are back to square one.
I think we are fighting a losing battle.
I took the cue from our Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.
In the talk show Hujah on TV 9 last week, he strongly implied that it's back to BM for our primary school kids.
He cited the Education Act which firmly stressed that primary school must be in the National Language.
He also cited himself as example of being educated in Malay and yet he went far and became a Minister.
After hearing him, I really feel sad.
I fear for the future of my two toddler grand-kids.
Will they be able in future to compete globally by learning solely in BM.
Or they are forced to be jaguh kampung or village champ.
I want them to have the same privilege of a globally competitive education like my kids.
Looks like the pressure is on for the Education Ministry to follow the 'Bahasa Champions.'
I know rather well some of the so-called champs of the BM and my conversations with them are always in English.
And mind you, they are fluent in English.
But sad to say, they want to deprive future Malaysian students to be good in English!

sharon said...

I was the 1st batch of students under the KBSR system and frankly if my parents hadn't sent me to Singapore to further my studies, i doubt i would be able to string together a paragraph in English.

I feel sad that the ones losing out here are the students, their future and all because some higher ups just woke up one morning with a "brilliant" idea to change things (again).