Sunday, December 14, 2008

The selfishness of all sides

In case any of our readers are wondering, no, I've not lost track of the current debate on teaching Science and Math in English. Partly because of time and partly because of the complexity and the deep feelings which all sides have on this issue, I've tried to take a little bit more time to digest and reflect on the latest round of reactions and counter-reactions to this issue. My gut tells me that the Education Minister, Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, will probably revert to teaching Science and Math in BM, Chinese and Tamil at the primary school level but allow this policy to continue at the secondary school level. It will be a political decision, even if the Minister says otherwise. The sad thing for me is that most of the people who are pushing for a reversion back to the old policy are doing it for selfish reasons and do not have the benefit of the students in mind. I'll explain what I mean by this.

Most of those who are pushing for a reversion to the previous policy of teaching Science and Math either in BM or in a student's mother tongue (Chinese and Tamil) are doing so because of 'nationalist' reasons. I say this because of a few reasons. Firstly, the results for the first batch of students who have undergone 6 years of this policy and took their UPSR exams recently, have not been announced yet. These will be made public soon, according to the Minister. If the results have not yet been divulged, I'm not sure if any of these groups who want to revert to teaching in BM, Chinese or Tamil, can make the claim that the policy has caused a deterioration in the Science and Math results of these students. They may point to anecdotal evidence for this occurring but they would not have been able to back it up with the proper statistics.

Secondly, all or most of these groups 'claim' that they do think that improving the command of English among students is something that they care about and is something important to them, but almost all of them do not put forth any credible suggestions on how the standard of English among our students can be improved after the reversion of teaching Science and Math back to BM, Chinese or Tamil. Other than the not very helpful suggestion of putting more resources into improving the teaching of English itself. My sense is that these groups would not protest one iota if the they got their way on the Science and Math issue and nothing is done about improving the quality of English courses in our schools.

It seems a little ironic to me that the different 'nationalist' groups, who are usually at each other's throats, can unite over this issue because of their aversion to the policy of teaching Science and Math in English. While one may doubt the efficacy of this policy in terms of either improving the quality of English or the standard of Science and Math among our students, I have no doubt that reverting to the previous policy, without doing anything else, will definitely NOT improve the standard of English among our students.

I have a few thoughts on this issue after having a long conversation with a friend a few weeks back. I'll share them with you here. There is no way that the command of the 'mother tongue' among Malay, Chinese and Indian students will be and has been significantly affected by the teaching of Science and Math in English, especially if they come from families where the dominant language is their mother tongue. They will continue to remain proficient in these languages. Their job prospects in the future will not be affected because they did not study Science and Math in their mother tongue.

In addition, I do not suspect that the results of any of these students in Science and Math would have been greatly affected by this policy change. My rationale for this is simple. The results of students is affected much more by their home environment firstly and by the quality of teachers, secondly, regardless of what language they teach in. Students from families which are stable, middle class and who have degrees and / or are teachers themselves are likely to do better in school and in Science and Math compared to students from families which are less financially stable. Students from urban areas are much more likely to do better in school because they are likely to have better teachers in their schools.

Let me give you a more concrete example. I have a friend who's about to graduate from Duke. His family is from a semi-rural part of Selangor and he was from a Chinese primary school and a national secondary school were the main medium of communication was Chinese even though all of the subjects were taught in BM. He probably had a better command of English than many of his peers because of his diligence but he would be the first one to admit that the standard of his English was nowhere near that of his counterparts from the urban areas in Penang, PJ / KL and Ipoh. He was a good student (all A1s in his SPM except for Chinese). Because he could not get a JPA scholarship (A2 in Chinese was his 'downfall'), he looked for other avenues including applying to the United World College (UWC) system. He got the scholarship but it was clear to him that his preparation as well as his standard of English was nowhere near those who applied and also got this scholarship. In fact, he was the fist person from a Chinese school background to successfully apply for and get this scholarship.

My point of bringing up this person's experience is this. The networks that can be found in urban areas that help kids apply for scholarships such as the Asean scholarship or the UWC scholarship cannot be replicated in the rural areas or even in the Chinese schools in the urban areas by having Science and Math taught in English. But by forcing these kids and exposing them to English earlier in life (meaning from the primary school level), you would be giving SOME of the them the opportunity to be exposed to things that you would only have gotten through a decent command of English, including the opportunity to apply for scholarships in overseas universities and also private institutions locally. Not having any exposure to English at an early age provides an immediate disadvantage to these students. Not to mention the impact it would have on their job prospects later in life.

I know I am going to accused of being elitist when I say this but if one were to do a survey of the non-Malays in the top universities in the UK, Australia and the US, one would find that those who are NOT from a Chinese primary school background would be severely over represented, even after controlling for things like family background and income.

The hypocrisy of the situation is ever worse when one considers that many of the leaders in these 'nationalist' organizations actually have the means and the opportunity and the networks to have their children achieve a relatively proficient level of English. Certainly to a level which would enable many of them to apply and gain entry into some of the top universities in the English speaking world.

Furthermore, my sense is that those who would be the worst affected by a reversion back to the policy of teaching Science and Math in the mother tongue language are Malay students in rural areas. Chinese students, and to a lesser extent, Indian students, can find alternative ways of pursuing a higher education in Taiwan or China or India and even gain employment in these countries after that, especially with the rapidly growing economies of China and India. But even then, the ability to have a good command of English are important in both these countries especially in China where many locals are making themselves more marketable by learning English. (Indeed one of the strengths of Msian workers in China is that their command of Chinese is as good as the locals but they have a far superior command of English. I'm talking about those from Chinese schools of course.)

The Malay kids from the rural areas don't have this option. If their command of English is not good by the time they enter university, their employment options are extremely limited and their promotion prospects are also extremely limited.

One of the main beneficiaries of the low standard of English in our country is the limited number of professionals of all races who possess a good command of English. Ironically, the middle class parents from English speaking backgrounds in the major cities in Malaysia should join in the chorus of these 'nationalists' by insisting that the ministry reverts back to its old policy of teaching Science and Math in BM, Chinese and Tamil. Better yet, ignore the slide in the standard of English in this country. This way, their sons and daughters can continue to benefit by having the advantage of being more proficient in this language compared to their peers from non English speaking backgrounds, especially those from the rural areas.

I will propose one suggestion here which I think may be part of an overall program that may reduce this rural-urban divide in terms of the standard of English of our students. It probably will make a small dent in this divide but it's a start. I propose that the government set up something that is similar to Teach for America or Americore where teachers / individuals are given incentives to spend a year or two or three to teaching English (or other subjects) in rural schools. I recall that something like that was arranged by UKEC (sorry for the earlier error) called Project Kalsom but what I'm proposing is something more long term and involves professionals / students / individuals spending more than one week or two in the rural areas. This way, these teachers can not only bring their skills in terms of teaching of different subjects in English but also bring their know how in terms of teaching these kids how to apply for different scholarships and also exposing them to the larger world beyond that in their own 'kampungs' so to speak.

Another suggestion put forth is the establishment of rural Islamic schools that uses English as the main medium of instruction. This was put forth by Bakri Musa who discusses this issue in great detail and with great measure. I'd encourage everyone who's interested in this issue to read Bakri's post.

To conclude, I'd advise everyone who has an interest in this issue of think of the implications of reverting to the previous policy of teaching Science and Math in BM, Chinese or Tamil. Think specifically of what other policies can and should be introduced to improve the standard of English among Malaysian students especially those from rural areas and those from non-English speaking backgrounds. Especially if you think that having a good command of English is an important asset to possess.

18 comments:

johnleemk said...

Great posting, Kian Ming - I completely agree. One thing I want to add is that I am quite surprised at how good the English of many Malaysians actually is, relative to those of other nationalities. I've been corresponding with foreign applicants to my university and inevitably the Malaysians acquit themselves well. Many students from other countries can barely string a coherent sentence together, and even those who have had the benefit of a good education in somewhere like Singapore still clearly don't have a complete grasp of the English language. I think we've actually done not too bad a job of teaching upper- and middle-class Malaysians English.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that as you point out, we have a sort of bimodal distribution of English proficiency in Malaysia. The poorer Malaysians generally have little to no command of the language; the richer Malaysians tend to have a pretty good grasp of it. I think it's primarily about exposure, since that is the only difference I can think of between the income strata. The richest Malaysians are immersed in English; the poorest barely hear or read it. This suggests to me that teaching more subjects in English may actually make a good deal of sense.

EmbersofAmber said...

A good analysis and points on the subject. No doubt any reversion in policy will be a political decision, as many policies in Malaysia are very political in nature.

However, I am not sure this miniscule exposure to the English language in the Science and Maths subjects are really helping the students either, aside from confusing them. Of course, the previous policy doesn`t really help either. Either way, I highly doubt the English of our rural and semi-rural brethren are being improved.

We really need a structured and concerted effort to promote the teaching and use of English in schools. I would say that the idea of using English as the medium in religious school a bold and effective idea, although I can certainly envision the opposition to any such policy. Perhaps some other ways of implementing something similar can be effected in our present schools.

I certainly hope some semblence of a practical and effective policy can be formulated to check the `decline` in the English language among some Malaysians.

Former VC said...

One factual error - Projek Kalsom is organised by UKEC, not PROMUDA.

Shawn Tan said...

You call them nationalists, I call them racists for if they were truly nationalists, they would be fighting for what is right for our nation, and not protect their little individual races. However, this issue and the issue of closing down vernacular schools is made thoroughly confusing by all the politicians. I pity the regular folk who have to sort through the details before getting a clear picture of the situation.

You are right that the most important language for seeking employment opportunities in China is actually English, and not Mandarin. My friends who've worked there tell me that everyone speaks English. China does not need anymore Mandarin speakers. They already have 1.3 billion of them. What they sorely need are people who have good English skills in order to bridge the international gap. Early immersion in a language is essential in learning it well.

Trying to teach fundamental Sci/Math in vernacular languages and then transitioning everyone to English in the secondary is thoroughly stupid. Most of these leaders must not have studied Sci/Math at university (or even attended university) and did not undergo the pains of actually trying to understand what your reference book is trying to say. Just go to any local university and you are likely to find a dictionary, sitting right next to a reference book.

While some terms are probably similar and are English phonetics, there are lots of terms that totally different. In a technical field like Sci/Math, using accurate terminology is everything. For example, voltage is 'dian ya' (electrical pressure) in Mandarin. Pity the kid who has to figure out the translations and relearn everything from the fundamentals.

Foh Meng Wha said...

Hi Kian Ming,
I think you've just said the unspoken words. I fully support the use of English in Sci/Maths where correct technical terms are important/crucial.

I also think that in this globalised era, English medium is the only tool for us to communicate. So, using English in Science/Maths would be a good start for students who are insufficiently exposed to the English language in rural schools.

Andrew Loh said...

Kian Ming,

1) I agree halfway. I'm going to propose a more radical proposal based on two of your premises.

I think that you are absolutely right in this premise: "The results of students is affected much more by their home environment firstly and by the quality of teachers, secondly, regardless of what language they teach in."

The other premise is that English is crucial for a student's future -- and, most importantly, more so relative to Malay, Chinese, or Tamil.

While I completely agree that "forcing [rural, non-English-speaking] kids and exposing them to English earlier in life is beneficial, I also think that there is a value in forcing urban, English-speaking kids to learn in another language.

What I propose is that parents at least consider sending their children to a school that teaches in another language. I don't think anyone would argue that knowing more languages is worse than knowing less. From this I think that English-speaking parents should send their kids to Malay, Chinese, and/or Tamil schools; and vice versa. The value of this is that exposure to more languages = good.

I draw from my experience: I mainly speak English at home. I went to a Chinese primary school and a Malay secondary school. While I certainly was handicapped relative to other Chinese- and Malay-speaking students respectively, I learnt to adapt and do well (if not excel) in at least the examination-speak of both languages. My English, I dare say, is not bad either. :)

Logic demands that we look at the opportunity cost of such a proposal. If both your premises are right, then the rural, non-English-speaking student stands to benefit from being educated in English. The urban, English-speaking student benefits from learning other languages -- but his English might suffer from less exposure in school. I think, however, that if an English-speaking parent is able to create an English-conducive environment for his children at home, then the benefits of non-English education could very much outweigh the costs.

Another cost of non-English education might also be an achievement deficit for the English-speaking student. I used to think that had I gone to an English school, I would've done better in terms of "top in form" results, etc.

All in all, though, I think I got more from my multilingual education that what I lost. My Chinese and Malay would certainly be less proficient had I gone to English school.

2) I think Namewee got into trouble for making a video satirizing the Chinese education system for its lack of emphasis on English. It was quite explicit in its content, so I don't know how much of the brouhaha was due to the obscenity or the message.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/11/26/nation/2643001&sec=nation

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/18597?tid=14

goh haw zan said...

To kian ming:
(1)It is not good to make the decision based on UPSR result since i know the result could be tuned as those officers like
(2)As far as i know(correct me if i am wrong), they lessen the material in the primary school syllabus when they started to teach sci and math in english(and yes it is the way malaysia doing thing). Teaching sci and math in english would not influence the commmand of our mother tongue, but it certainly will influence the sci/math standard of our next generation
(3)Yes, the results of students are affected by their home environments.The main point here would be whether or not the parents would be able to motivate and give guidance to their children in their study. Regarding the guidance from the parents, i doubt what kind of guidance would those parents give to their children in sci/math if they do not understand english. And yes, most of the malaysian parents do not really understand english. As a result the students will be scared away from sci/math. And certainly there is no fair education here because you already shut the door of those students
(4)you said '...non-Malays in the top universities in the UK, Australia and the US ...'. i do not understand how did you get this statistic especially you say 'after controlling for things like family background and income'. Isn't that most of the students there are from rich family? is coming from sekolah kebangsaan means those students was taught in english in sci/math? Or does it mean those students speak english with their family? is the ultimate goal to teach sci/math in english is to send those students to US/UK/AUS later? There are a lot of uncertainties in your statements so please clarify
(5) Conclusion: Improve the standard of english is crucial, but teaching sci/math in english is suck especially regarding my 2nd point.

johnleemk said...

Goh Haw Zan:

1) UPSR scores are better than nothing. Even if they are in some sense rigged, it is hard to rig results if students deeply underperform. Moreover, the raw scores should not be susceptible to alteration.

2) That's a red herring. The logical conclusion is that we should be teaching the same amount of material as before but in English. By this logic, DJZ and other groups should be pushing for *more* teaching in English to ensure the syllabus covers the same material as before. You haven't addressed the underlying issue of language.

3) That's completely ridiculous. Upper and middle class parents usually know enough English to help their children study science and maths in English. Poorer parents barely have any education in science or maths in the first place. One thing about teaching science and maths in English is that it won't affect how much parents can help the learning process - the poorer parents didn't study science and maths, but the richer parents know enough English to help anyway.

4) Controlling for family background means using statistical analysis to hold things equal so income doesn't matter. The point Kian Ming is making is that most students in Chinese schools don't have as good a command of English as those from SKs or private schools. He's making it a bit obliquely, but ultimately he is saying that based on this, it's clear that exposure to English helps you tap into a wider range of opportunities.

goh haw zan said...

to johnleemk,
(1) as i said in my previous post, they cover less material in the syllabus so getting an A this year does not mean you are as good as the student who got an A previously . So how do you compare this year's result to the previous result? And how do you know about the raw score? From my previous experience with the Malaysia public exams they might already set really simple questions this years to make sure the students would not underperform.
(2) The point is simply you could not do that. How do you cover the same material as before if the students do not even know one two three in english and only know satu dua and tiga?
(3) You are now making a public policy. So what is the percentage of the malaysia family which is belonged to upper and middle class? 10%? 20%? or 30%? How about the rest? For those parents who do not get much education, they might still be able to give some guidances to their children by telling them that the earth is orbiting around the sun or some basic math knowledges in the languages they know. What will be the situation if their children show to them the sci/math textbook that they do not understand at all? Would they be able to help?
(4)what make a student has a good command of english? Is it because they speak english with their family or is it because they are sent to sk/private school? And is it true that the parents who speak english with their children will tend to send their children to sk? you have to understand what is the main factor in this issue by drawing the conclusion that students from sjk(c) have a poorer command of english. Lastly let me remind you that the medium of sk is malay and not english.
(5) again my conclusion: improve the standard of english is crucial, but teaching sci/math in english is suck

goh haw zan said...

again to kian ming:
(1)you said 'Secondly, all or most of these groups 'claim' that they do think that improving the command of English among students is something that they care about and is something important to them, but almost all of them do not put forth any credible suggestions on how the standard of English among our students can be improved after the reversion of teaching Science and Math back to BM, Chinese or Tamil'. You gave me the impression that you think teaching sci/math in english(especially in primary school) will certainly improve the level of english, is that what you mean? And in real life is it true? Improving english by teaching sci/math in english and at the same time do not scare the students away or not lowering the level of sci/math? think about the students who are not from upper or middle class of family
(2) you said ' Other than the not very helpful suggestion of putting more resources into improving the teaching of English itself'. Is 'improving the teaching of english ' a bad idea?
(3) conslusion: improve the standard of english is crucial, but teaching sci/math in english is suck




(2)

Anonymous said...

ironically the medium used for the sports science subject at stpm level is currently the malay language.

although there is no school offering this subject, i decided to study this subject independently. however i find it frustrating because it is almost impossible for me to find malay reference books for this subject since most in the market now are authored in english. with no other choice i have to buy an english reference book & translate the scientific terms in malay at my own risk.

compared to other math & science subjects which have multiple choice of language during exams, sports science is the only subject which must be answered in malay. what puzzles me is that since i'll be learning everything in english later on in university, why adapt the malay language now at pre-u level especially stpm??? (the same thing goes for art stream subjects like economics, business studies, etc)

therefore the losing side are the students like me whom are literate in english. instead of 'protecting' certain groups of students that are weak in english proficiency the education ministry should be 'building' them up so that they can compete.

msleepyhead said...

As most agree the level of English proficiency is relatively higher in urban areas and in middle-class families, then perhaps the right thing to do will be to allocate more resources to where English usage is low.

The one-size fits all policy of education in the country must be changed. As not all parts of the country are equally developed, similarly the family/community background of students will affect the students academic performance.

A different syllabus or more lessons for example can be allocated to students in the rural areas, while in the urban areas students can be allowed to take a more advanced level of English as they may already have a good command of it.

We need to give a helping hand to not only the weak (new learners of the language) students but also take care of the bright ones.

johnleemk said...

1) As I said, if the policy is fundamentally not working, no amount of result-rigging can hide it. In science and maths, especially at the primary level, there are only so many questions you can ask. If students' English is really so bad, they will flunk even the easier questions. If their English is good and they can handle the easy questions, then in principle they would be able to handle even more material if it was in the syllabus.

2) Again, as I said, you are making the point that we need to improve the standard of English education. As Kian Ming and I have observed, the quality of English in the upper and middle classes is actually pretty good by international standards. There should be no reason that we cannot accomplish similar results in rural areas and other deprived communities. You aren't making an argument against teaching science and maths in English so much as you making an argument against teaching English poorly.

3) You're making the assumption that parents would already have learnt and still remember basic science and maths. That's a very questionable assumption. You're also making the assumption that parents would have the time and willingness to work with their children on schoolwork. My father's parents were too busy tapping rubber to help him with his homework, and I imagine it's the same for many other poor families. This argument that we're preventing parents from helping their children does not hold water, if you ask me.

4) The point doesn't really have anything to do directly with SKs or Chinese schools, which is why I said Kian Ming was making his point obliquely. What Kian Ming said is that students who speak English better - for whatever reason - have access to more opportunities. And to support this, he observed that students from non-Chinese school backgrounds (who I think we can all agree *on average* have a better standard of English) seem to make up a disproportionate number of those studying at the top universities around the world. In other words, we're just using "not from a Chinese school background" as a proxy for "does not speak English well".

Ng said...

This issue is one big headache for the government to decide as no decision will please everyone. People like Kian Ming should have been involved in the round table discussion organized by the Education Ministry, instead of those nationalist, Chinese education groups and the race based political parties who obviously will champion who or what they are representing.

I am all for the maintaining the policy. This is very reason why I have or will put all my children in Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK), as I believe that the Chinese schools here are over emphasizing on the usage of Mandarin for everything in their schools. This is quite evident from the analysis of the recent UPSR results reported in the Star on 17/12/08, where the percentages of students in these schools answering the Science and Maths in English are only 2.86% and 1.29% respectively, while in Tamil schools the percentages are 62.76% and 89.11%, compared to overall average of about 50% for both subjects as reported earlier. This means the percentage of students in SK who answered the two papers in English is more than 60%.

I would propose that the Government maintain the teaching of maths and science in English, at least for SK. If the vernacular schools do not want to have English, let them have their day. I believe by doing so the Government will be doing the Malays a big favour. The early and more exposure to the usage of English will definitely make the Malays more proficient in English, at least some of them if we were to accept the argument by some nationalists that one could not improve his English just by learning maths and science in English. Whether you like it or not the business language will still be in English for years to come. The Malays who are proficient in English will definitely have an advantage over the students from vernacular schools, especially the Chinese schools, in the employment market if the former are equally good in other aspects.

With the above scenario I believe more Chinese parents will send their children to SK, which is what the Government has been trying to do all these years but don’t seem to be doing it right. In the 60s and 70s, when it was English medium in SK, many Chinese parents had chosen to enroll their children in these schools, especially in the urban areas. Most of these Chinese parents are themselves not very educated and do not know English at all, but they saw a brighter future in the English medium education system. The present state of affairs started when the Government started changing the medium of instruction in the SK for all subjects to Bahasa Malaysia in the 70s, combined with the deterioration of the education and teaching standards in these schools and the introduction of religious elements later on. That was how the vernacular schools gain popularity.

The Government, political parties, the nationalist and education groups must wake up to the realities of the education situation in Malaysia today. Education is the primary concern of every child’s parents. Unity of the different races in the country is secondary to them. You cannot force them to send their children to SK schools which they don’t believe will provide their children with a good education, for the sake of unity. It must be on willing buyer and willing seller basis.

If the Government is serious in wanting to make the SK the school of choice for every parent, it has to start by maintaining the teaching of maths and science in English, perhaps just for the SK. Maybe have more subjects taught in English. Nobody can deny the fact there is a world of knowledge and information in English, especially in the internet age. Make National schools as NEUTRAL as possible, so that different races do not feel they are being discriminated in such schools. Introduce Pupil’s Own Language as main subjects in SK, just like Pendidikan Islam and Arab. When we reach such a point, the supply and demand situation will dictate the existence of the vernacular schools, which the Government has always seen as a source of disunity among the races in the country. I am sure this will attract more Chinese Malaysian students back to SK, at least better than now or better than the time when we have maths and science in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese or Tamil.

Anonymous said...

The real problem here is the politicians making decisions and forcing every body to conform. The solution is to develop a system that shifts the power from the politicians to the schools, parents and students. If the national policy allows diversity to have Malay, English, Chinese and Tamail schools to coexist and let the parents decide, the government awards scholarships based on ability and country's needs, the problem will get sorted out in a much less painful way. The history of education medium switching is destroying the future of many kids, and the nation.
Recently, I have spents quite a bit of time in Malaysia, China talking to students, parents and educators in an effort to help some of them. The former mission schools in Malaysia will do well using English to teach science amd math. As far as Chinese, Malay and Tamail schools, if they can not improve the result of the students, then enrolment to their schools would drop, which should lead to funding cuts.
If you are looking for a uniform policy for urban schools and rural schools by slowing the better schools, you are not doing any one of us any good. You just ensure Malaysian non competitiveness. It is morally irresponsible.
We are wasting too much time arguing over policy issues on teaching science and math, we have to get to how to teach science and math effectively. Unfortunately, most of those who try to make decisions on teaching science and math are not very strong science/math students during their days.

regards,
Frank

Anonymous said...

Politicians and the self righteous, please leave us alone, so that we can bring up our kids as educated man and women, contributing to the well being of our society. Give us choice, so that when you make a mistake you do not take down the whole nation with you. If you are an elected official, please remember that your job is to guard our interest, the interest of all citizens, not (as) our boss, bullying us into policies that do not make sense. We have greater right to choose our future than you (choosing for us). Our right to choose whatever medium that works best for the set of kids, parents and teachers. You should judge us (and others) based on what we deliver and not base on what you think. What you think does not represent truth and no one has monopoly on thruth, eventhough a lot of people think they have.
Based on the experience of hiring and building up engineering organizations in MNC and start up companies, we found that some of the best engineers and scientists are those who took them up as hobbies when young, can relate to what they see in everyday life to basic scientific principles or mathematical logic. Having a critical thinking process and habit to sort out what are more likely than others.
In order to achieve this, we have to bring science to the kids' every day life, it is not just preparing for exams. I have used English and Chinese on different kids to get the desired results. I Have engaged kids with different experiments, discussions at their level. Once we get them engaged, we can bring them to a higher level. Please do not add another barrier in between.
I am not worried about my own kids, but I am sorry for the kids in Malaysia and feel very sad as a Malaysian seeing all these happening to our country man/women.

regards,
Frank

Anonymous said...

Ask a person who is good in english, he / she will say English is the perfect language in teaching / understanding most terms in Maths & English ; scolars also agreed that Arabic is another language that perfectly decsribe terms but not much being said because arabic is widely used by muslims countries.BM is another language used by Malay ( Muslims ).

Just remember when the West conqured the Muslim worlds, they promised to turn the opposite of what the muslims do;the arabic letter begins from right to left;

the english letter is from left to right @ english is now the dominance language ; A must for female muslims to cover it up the body, now, they manage to pursuade to exposed the body @ they have succesfully made the opposite.

Majority of the chinese & indians in this country are non muslim - they will always opposed to whatever things that they believe to be islamic-related matters,They are very goods in this with all the logics given in the name of justice, free speech etc.

Same goes to the Malay who strongly support the Palastenians; Again, most Indians & chinese see this in the context of islamic brotherhood; forget about what the Israels did to the PAlastenians; just ignore the history of Israel just like most Indians and Chinese tend to ignore their fore father history in Tanah Melayu

Most Malays know the Chinese are one of the "opportunities",races they are selfish in terms of "wealth sharing"; they climed to be good in finance management and yet no much being said about the chinese in South Africa, they are good in the land of opportunities only

Majority of the Malay who do not speak / write English well, admited that Tuanku Abd Rahman made a great mistake in granting the citizenship to the chinese without any condition.

You can find a Chinese grocery in Malay Kg with the full support from the Malay customers but you won't find the oppostite.

You will find Malay Youth guarding the nieghbourhood during Chinese New Years holidays, where are the Chinese Youths during Hari Raya ?

Prachai said...

"...if one were to do a survey of the non-Malays in the top universities in the UK, Australia and the US, one would find that those who are NOT from a Chinese primary school background would be severely over represented, even after controlling for things like family background and income."

This observation , I am afraid, is insufficient to establish the superiority of an English medium primary school. While enrolment of Chinese students into government schools were quite high 20 years ago (these are the people you are seeing in the universities now), in recent times there has been significant decrease in their enrollment in SK, and a corresponding increase in SRJK. I am pretty sure if you check the background of Chinese students in strong universities overseas, 20 years from now, you will find them to be from Chinese primary schools.

Drawing causal inferences based on observational studies is fraught with difficulties, and this is one of them. One also has to remember that exceptional people succeed nonetheless despite the system.