Call on Musa to prove his claim that pupils’ performance in science and mathematics have improved significantly after the government decision to teach the two subjects in English by making public the full reports
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said last weekend that pupils’ performance in science and mathematics had improved significantly after the government took the bold decision to teach the two subjects in English.
He said a study in the Federal Territory and the states of Perlis, Kedah, Johor, Terengganu and Sabah showed that the average marks achieved by the year one pupils in the two subjects had improved. Their average score in the examinations for science was 67 per cent and 76 per cent for mathematics. Another “encouraging revelation” was the performance of year one pupils in the English language examination had shot up to an unprecedented 78 per cent.
Although the claims by Musa sound impressive, they are next to useless for he did not give any comparative figures of previous years to provide any meaningful comparison to show that pupils have improved in their attainments in the various subjects.
It could be assumed that Musa was referring only to pupils’ performance in the national primary school as he was addressing the UMNO General Assembly, but how could Musa claim that the average score of 67 per cent for science was an improvement, when this is the first year that science has been introduced as a subject for Std. One? What are the comparative figures of the pupils’ attainments for mathematics in Std. One in the previous five years from 1998-2002?
Did the Education Ministry conduct a test of pupils’ performance in the Chinese and Tamil primary schools, and if so, what are the results? Musa should prove his claim that pupils’ performance in science and mathematics have improved significantly after the government decision to teach the two subjects in English by making public the reports of the studies.
Musa should have reported to Parliament at its current meeting the Std. One pupils’ performance in the national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools following the decision to use English to teach mathematics and science, clarifying in particular, whether it is true that there is a lowering of the standard of the mathematics syllabus for Std. One where the pupils are taught to do sums of addition and subtraction from 1 – 18 instead of from 1 to 100.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman