Sunday, March 15, 2009

Science and Math in English - Writing on the Wall

I wrote this in December of last year - "I suspect that a compromise decision may be made. Either continue teaching S&M in English at the secondary school level or start after Primary 3."

A recent piece by the Malaysian Insider - written by Leslie Lau, who has strong links to BN leaders, had this to say - The government is likely to scrap the policy of using English to teach science and mathematics in primary schools while maintaining it for secondary schools. Education Ministry sources told The Malaysian Insider today that the compromise in policy will be recommended to the Cabinet for a final decision soon in an effort to resolve a controversy which has been brewing for months.

Frankly, I would have liked the policy to continue and improve on its implementation. Now we are in a half way house where neither side is really happy and students and teachers continue to be confused. No one wins.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

u cannot compromise on our children's future. we made a mistake in rejecting English in the past. Now are we going to make the second n more graver mistake of rejecting it again?
English is a must, especially for those who wants to study it. For those that do not want they are allowed to attend malay schools...

Anonymous said...

If they want to continue using Eng for Sc&Math in secondary level, they might as well start it at primary level otherwise the students' proficiency in English, Sc & Math will not be sufficient for them to cope with at the secondary level. What then? Another change in policy? Wasting people's money n putting our children's future at the far end in decision making--very irresponsible!

Anonymous said...

I wonder where our politicians brains are located? Is it in the cranium or at the colorectal position.
Sad! My biology teacher in school did not cover this in the syllabus

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 having english as medium in teaching S&M in secondary school is an optimal choice as for current situation. If those who oppose say that rural malay students cant catch up with it, how about over the years non malay students have been facing the same prob when they transit from primary to sec school whose teaching medium is BM?

basically the terms of S&M in Malay are similar to Eng, and after 6 yrs of instruction medium in mothertongue, secondary sch is a good environment to switch to english.

Shawn Tan said...

Well, politicians have got to play politics. They're all a bunch of idiots who do not represent their constituents but pursue their political agendas.

When the stats show that the majority of urban and rural schools students are successfully answering the papers in English, I don't really see the reason why there is a need for change. The students are obviously able to handle it. So, why is there an insistence that the children need to be protected?

Everyone seems to be trying to protect the kids but has anyone actually asked the kids what they want and whether or not they actually need any protection?

Everyone seems to be arguing this from an emotional stand point rather than a rational one. The people who think that PPSMI is bad should actually produce some concrete evidence to support their assertions that some other 'random' language is a better choice than English.

ben said...

Get referendum from the students ! They're the stakeholders and not politicians, nationalists who are still living under the tempurung.

Anonymous said...

Those people opposing the PPSMI is i guess not economically minded and do not really care about the future of Malaysia. I'm sadden to see some politicians use thios issue to gain support for themselves, this is not a political issue but rather a issue of the future of the country. Using English for only science and maths will not affect the standard of other languages such as B.M and Mandarin because student can learn this languages in the language subject offered. With teaching of Science and Maths in english, maybe teachers from chinese/Tamil schools can be deploy to other government schools to teach the mandarin/tamil language,instead of teaching maths and science in mandarin/tamil to better promote those languages to other students in other goverment schools. This way more people will learn Mandarin/Tamil and the aim to expand and promote the use of these languages claimed to be championed by certain quarters can be achieved.

Anonymous said...

Lest we forget history too soon...It was under DR M that BM took over BI and it was still under him when BI was reintroduced again
The good thing is that under him nobody dared to go against him....

icon2008 said...

I am pretty sure that many of the commentators here including Tony Pua are not educationists.

I do not really agree with the idea of teaching Maths and Science in English. It is like killing two birds with a stone. Even the one (Tun Dr. Mahathir) proposed this idea is not an educationist.

My point is some Maths and Science teachers are not proficient in English. Now, we want this kind of teachers to teach those subjects to our children in English. It is like a blind man leading another blind man.

Why don't people come out with ideas like teaching literature as a core subject to students? I think teaching literature is more practical than continuing what has been carried out today.

For you people's information, I am majoring in TESL in minoring in TESL at UPSI. I can even pinpoint that some of you are not using grammatical English.

Eg. "Those people opposing the PPSMI is i guess not economically minded and do not really care about the future of Malaysia."

Is this English? or Is this the product of learning English in Science and Maths?

Anonymous said...

ICON 2008

Alaaa baru masuk University buat TESL kat some recently upgraded college to university dah buat banyak bising...

Let me tell you it is not the sole rights of teachers or teachers wannabes to have comments on the state of education in our country!

Why dont you go and study and be a teacher first before commenting...hehe

icon2008 said...

Anon (3/18/2009 09:12:00 AM)

I am shocked when you said that UPSI has just recently been upgraded to university. For your information, UPSI has become a university since 1997. Did you mean that the period of 12 years is recent?

I am a teacher wannabe but I have been learning the basis of teaching. I bet you do not even know how to write a lesson plan let alone to conduct a lesson in a classroom.

"it is not the sole rights of teachers or teachers wannabes to have comments on the state of education in our country"

Is this grammatical or not?

Anonymous said...

Screw science&math in english!
That is for minority slave-workers' knowledge
Study Business, Economics, Accountancy, Management, Finance,etc..

Capitalists own Malaysia!
Capitalists rule Malaysia!
Capitalists dominate Malaysia!
Capitalists control Malaysia!

Japheth Lim Gene-Harn said...

Kudos to this blog for sometimes sparking off the ideas in my head and i respond it in a way of blogging it in my blog, yea u can see some of it esp about matriculation because i am in it. Owh well one thing i would want to voice out is that, statistics from edu ministry just cant be trusted, those facts saying how many percents teacher uses english teach and all, crapz. Simply because in Matric, most teacher teaches in BM still and they put on a show when the higher board came to surprise check. =.-

Mohamed Idris said...

Teaching science and maths in English can have grave effects on Malaysia. Read my latest blog entry to find out more.

Thanks!

Daddy Parenting Tips said...

My daughter is less than 2 years old and she can understand both English and Japanese, and later will introduce Malay, Mandarin and Cantonese.

http://daddyparentingtips.blogspot.com/2009/07/tip-161-reading-in-both-languages.html


I can't see why we cannot take 1 step forward to integrate the BM textbooks few years back with the current English science and maths text books. Its a lot of effort, but why move backward instead of forward. We can allow students to use either English or BM to answer in the exams as long as the maths and science principles are correct.

Some good will surely come out of the dialectics at work between both languages instead of choosing either one. We need new advancements. We need Malaysia Boleh. Not some power struggle between languages.

When will Malaysia advance and not hold on to race and language as stumbling blocks but embrace our differences as advantages?