Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seeking Public Feedback: S&M in English

I know that this issue has been flogged to death but I had a thought about this yesterday. Regardless of the outcome, there will be groups that will be unhappy. But one thing which I commend the Ministry of Education for is that they did expend time and resources to seek feedback from different groups. This is a far cry from the way this policy was implemented which was basically a executive decision with little or no debate.

According to a Star report, MOE has held 5 roundtable meetings thus far soliciting feedback from different 'stakeholders' including representatitives from PTAs, NGOs and academics. In addition, MOE also presented some of their internal papers and analysis on the UPSR results to some of these stakeholders which I thought was a progressive way of allowing the stakeholders to evaluate the findings of the MOE and then discuss those findings.

In addition, the MOE was flexible enough to put different proposals on the table.

The proposals are:

> Stick to Mathematics and Science in English;

> Revert to Bahasa Malaysia;

> Let primary schools teach both subjects in the mother tongue and secondary schools use English;

> Let primary schools decide for themselves;

> Mathematics and Science be taught in Bahasa Malaysia and mother tongue for Years One to Three and in English from Year Four onwards;

> A combination of mother tongue in the first three years and a choice of mother tongue or English after that; and

> The two subjects will not be taught in Years One to Three and instead be integrated into other subjects.

Some may criticize the fact that putting these options on the table is just for show that the Ministry has already made up its mind but I do think that there was a serious effort on the part of the MOE officials to incorporate at least some of the feedback they received from the different stakeholders into their thinking process.

Ultimately the decision will probably be influenced by political as much as educational motivations but I think the MOE should be commended for the way they approached this issue. Especially when you consider the manner in which this executive decision was 'imposed' on Malaysians 6 years ago. The Minister, his Deputy and the DG of MOE should be commended for this.


Shawn Tan said...

However, there is less change at the top as our Minister has decided to let the next Minister figure out this mess. You know that some schools are not even collecting fees next year because they do not know how much to collect. That also waits for the new Minister to decide.

Personally, I think that the UPSR statistics that the ministry released were quite telling, with only one group defying national trends. For the rest of the country, the answer seems blindingly obvious to me. Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

To rid of English would mean that the country may make a tailspin as the education system is already inadequate and lacking in substance. Also ponzi schemes and education are synonymous as Malaysian students are victims of scams created by local and foreign institutions. There are laws to regulate the providers but not properly enforced as the enforcement officials are easily distracted e.g. kuih kuih.

Anonymous said...

hi anon. 8:28

surely you cannot generalise like this :

" as Malaysian students are victims of scams
created by local and foreign institutions "


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

If you have cancer but the cancer drugs are too expensive, would you settle for say, drugs for allergy?

If English is the problem, it seems like it is an extremely round-a-bout way of improving English by teaching M&S in English.

Why not revive English schools like what we used to have ?

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm soon going to be a teacher in our country and with the current condition of the education news, its starting to make me loose interest in teaching. Honestly my friends and I think that the subjects should stick back to English. Its for the sake of the future, not our own interest. If you want to know why, go to youtube and find for the "shift Happens" video. You'll know why...