It is most disturbing
that there are more people jumping into the issue of the use of English to
teach mathematics and science from Std. One with thoughtless and tactless
statements which contribute only heat and emotion but no light or sense
to the controversy.
in the week, UMNO Youth Information chief, Azimi Daim, demanded that the new policy to use English to teach
mathematics and science should be implemented comprehensively to “ensure that
the interests of the young generation and the nation for the future are not
UMNO Youth leader, Mohamad Norza Zakaria, said that any exemption for certain
groups in society would only undermine the implementation of the national
education policy and render it meaningless.
these two UMNO Youth leaders had
given serious reflection, they would have realized that their “hothead”
statements had made UMNO Youth as well as they
themselves look extremely foolish, as if the use of Bahasa Malaysia to
teach mathematics and science has overnight become
anti-national and disloyal sentiments, which qualify the holders to be
detained-without-trial under the Internal Security Act.
When will “Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa” become an anti-national slogan to
should approach the proposal of using English to teach mathematics and science
from Std. One from the educational and not emotional angle – whether it is
educationally sound and a good and effective
way to raise the proficiency
of the students in English, mathematics,
science, the national language as well as the mother-tongue.
agreeing with efforts to raise English proficiency in all schools, the Education
Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad has not been able to make out a strong
educational case that the use of English to teach mathematic and science from
Std. One is the most efficacious manner to
achieve such proficiency, without at the same time undermining the student’s
mastery of mathematics and science.
like the President of Malaysian Islamic Science Academy (Asasi) Dr. Shaharir
Mohamad Zain, had said that studies worldwide have shown that the best way for
pupils at the primary level to master their studies is for the knowledge to be
channeled through their respective mother-tongues.
pupils are going to struggle with language mastery right from Standard One
onwards, how are the pupils to acquire the passion for mathematics and science
which is central to their becoming lifelong learners?
the precipitate use of English to
teach mathematics and science from Std. One “kill” the interest of entire
generations of students in these two
subjects which are critical to Malaysia’s ability to be at the cutting edge of
the era of information and communications technology?
to now, neither Musa nor any Education Ministry official has been able to rebut
the professional arguments of educationists that the use of English to teach
mathematics and science from Std. One onwards is not sound or sensible, whether
to enhance proficiency in English, mathematics or science, and that English
proficiency should be raised by more effective ways in the
teaching English as a subject.
days ago, the President
of Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semanjung (GPMS) Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim called
for the barring of Chinese primary school pupils from Mara Science Junior
Colleges (MRSM) and the termination of all government financial support for
Chinese primary schools if the use of English to teach mathematics and science
is rejected by Chinese primary schools – forgetting who are the taxpayers and
citizens in the country.
Utusan Malaysia reported the Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM) Secretary-Gebneral
Norizan Sharif as alleging
that if the Chinese primary schools are excluded from the use of English
to teach mathematics and science, there will be a greater gap among the younger
generation as well have negative effects to national integration in the country.
is another example of a thoughtless and tactless
statement whose arguments cannot withstand scrutiny or debate.
what is most disappointing is the
failure of the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers for the past
three months since the proposal was first mooted in May to convince the
Cabinet that the use of English to teach mathematics and science from Std. One
in Chinese primary schools is not the way to enhance the proficiency of English,
mathematics and science.
the four MCA Ministers, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik,
Datuk Chua Jui Meng, Datuk Ong Ka Ting, Datuk Fong Chan Onn, and the
Gerakan and SUPP Ministers, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Datuk Law Hieng
Ding publicly explain how they were persuaded that there is merit in the
proposal to use English to teach mathematics and science in Chinese primary
schools from Std. One that they went along with the proposal for some three
the greatest disappointment of all is the failure of the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP
Ministers at the Cabinet meeting three days ago on Wednesday to
communicate the views of the Chinese primary school parents, teachers, governors
and patrons on this issue, or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi would not have announced in Kuala Terengganu later the same evening
that all national-type Chinese and Tamil primary schools will not be excluded
from the government's move to use English to teach mathematics and science in
Std. One beginning next year.
Can the MCA,
Gerakan and SUPP Ministers explain why Abdullah made such a categorical
announcement when the Education Minister had announced after the Special Cabinet
meeting on July 19 that whether the
use of English to teach mathematics and science
would apply to Chinese and Tamil primary schools would await
a political decision by the Barisan Nasional component parties?
Have the Barisan
Nasional component parties secretly reached an agreement in the meanwhile that
all Chinese and Tamil primary schools would not be excluded from the
government’s move to use English to teach mathematics and science from Std.
One beginning next year, as
announcd by Abdullah in Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday?
It is clear that
the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers have neither confidence nor conviction on
leaders will seek a meeting with
Abdullah on the educational wisdom to use
English to teach mathematics and science from Std. One, which is particularly inappropriate for Chinese primary
schools, as Chinese primary school pupils had
better mathematics and science academic attainments than English primary
school pupils before the full conversion of English primary schools to national
primary schools in the mid-seventies.