Sunday, November 23, 2008

Teaching of Science, Maths in English should continue

Dr M has reiterated his support for the teaching of Mathematics and Science in the English language. I know that many Malaysians have been finding Dr M's pontifications quite hard to swallow, especially on the ketuanan business and his views on racial politics.

But, I feel like a beggar in the matter of the importance of using English as a medium of instruction in Malaysian schools.

And, beggars can't be choosers. Besides, politics and lobbying permits stranger bedfellows. I can picture your mind going crazy with this idiotic idiom. Mindgames are fun.

So, I am grateful that Dr M has come out in his customary directness in support of the policy that he put in place during his time as Prime Minister.

Dr M's statement comes at a time when the phenomenon of Mahathir sycophancy aka sindrom Pak Turut is on the rise again. Therefore, Hishamuddin better listen and obey. Otherwise, Dr M will come after him together with many, many angry parents.

Here's the report:
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 – The teaching of science and mathematics in English should be continued to ensure Malaysian students, especially the Malays, are not left behind, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the change to teach the two subjects in English from Bahasa Malaysia was to ensure students could master them and at the same time become more proficient in English, the number one language in the world.

“It is not aimed at neglecting Bahasa Malaysia. Furthermore, most publications on science and mathematics are in English.

“Take for example the cellular phone. If foreigners manufacture them equipped with cameras and the short-messaging facility but the manual is in English, can we used our science which is in Bahasa Malaysia to make the same hand phone? By the time we are done with the translation we will be left far behind,” he said at the “Malay Dilemma” discourse organised by the National Writers Association (Gapena) here today.

He also cited the dark ages of the Arabs where they had to learn everything from the Greeks.

“Obviously they could not ask the Greeks to translate their knowledge into Arabic. The solution then was for them to learn Greek so that they could have access to the knowledge in their possession. By doing this, the Arabs became a progressive race,” he said, adding that the same applied in the current scenario in the country.

He also said being proficient in two languages was a great asset and cited himself as an example.

“I studied in a Malay school for two years before my father transferred me to an English school. Thereafter all my education was in English. Did I lose my ability to use Bahasa Malaysia?

“It will not signify the end of the Malay race if we are to learn in English as well,” he said.


Peter said...

Berita baik!!!!! Dari hari ini, Good news everyone. From now on, Majlis Perbandaran akan bertanggung-jawab kepada penghuni!!!!!

Good news everyone. From now on, town councils will be accountable to residents!!!!!

walla said...

Why didn't he say so in the 22 years when he was PM? The damage done is incalculable. An entire generation blocked from speedier and more commanding access to knowledge and interaction. How are they going to update their language skills when they now have to scrambel and scrape for a living?

Not only that, we now have a bigger problem. The teachers and trainers themselves are not schooled to teach naturally in english. So another generation will have to be sacrificed for them to catch up, if at all you can find people to teach the trainers to teach the students.

And by the time they do, they will retire. So who's going to teach in english? By the time we figure that one out, the world of knowledge in english will have moved beyond our reach. And others who have been more practical will have bypassed us to seize market share. While we still quibble amongst ourselves about culture, supremacy, even tantric exercises.

People said one of the reasons he resigned was because he was angry even his inner circle blocked his directive to have ALL school subjects except the languages taught in english. Not just science and maths.

He had all the power in the country. Why didn't he just put his foot down and stop the procession of policies that strangled the minds of our young?

Do you know what is happening now? The grades standards have been artificially depressed. Students admitted with the same grades into private tertiaries fumble in the internal and external exams more today than the batches with the same admission results yesteryear. That's what is happening. One day, people won't equate our local qualifications to be on par to admit our students into their universities.

That's why parents, educators and those who know the real situation are so angry. You block one door, and open another but only to the basement.

They talk about THES ranking and apex universities. You have a bigger problem than those challenges. Are they aware, or still in denial, or have they washed their hands of the whole matter because their own can go to international schools while the masses should be grateful that our education system and our language policies are good enough for the world. Really?

It's all about leadership. Guts to see the facts of the world, not just the facts of the country, will to do something about it, not just pay lip-service to play to the gallery.

Not being able to adapt to the world, we are now foisting upon ourselves to try and adapt the world to us. Even if this is remotely chic, will it ever happen?

What did i breeze thru' in english this morning?

- Bardi's Hotel Front Office Management;

- Deja Review on Obstetrics & Gynecology;

- Managing RAID on Linux;

- Capstone's Virtual & Networked Organizations, and, Investment Appraisals;

- Bob Woodward's The War Within (the White House 2006-2008);

- Davis and Rice's Legend of the Samurai;

- Helweg & Stendahl's Dynamic Trading Indicators;

- Grumberg, Nipkow and Pfaller on Formal Logical Methods for System Security and Correctness;

- Gerlings' 100 Great Artists;

- Melnikov's Risk Analysis in Finance & Insurance;

- Blackwell's Manual of Surgical Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation;

- Miller's International Political Economy: Contrasting World Views;

- Sunstein's Legal Reasoning & Political Conflict; and

- Cochrane's Uncommon Sense: OutOfTheBox Thinking In An InTheBox World.

I will go for nap and then take on Palgrave's Strategic Thinking In Tactical Times. Or, should it be Archer's Prisoner Of Birth? Or, how about Helton and James on Extending H-infinity Control to Non-Linear Systems? Too abstruse? Then Dittmar's Practical Poker Math: Basic Odds & Probabilities for Hold'Em and Omaha, perhaps? Nothing about the country? Then, maybe Gomez's Politics In Malaysia: The Malay Dimension? But Walsh's Key Management Ratios beckons. Choices, choices.

It's not just science and maths. Scratch the best scientists, mathematicians, researchers and even CEOs, and you will find them polymath universalists interested in everything, cultured in everything, and voluble enough to discuss freely about anything.

While we still wishy-washy about legasi, emosi and motivasi.


de minimis said...


Your daily reading list is really scary!

Jarod said...

English Language for both subject is important for a smooth transition to University level. ALL uni level used English Language for Maths and Science. If one is not equip from young, it would be difficult to understand effectively when one enter Uni level.

Even if we use BM for science during secondary school, we need to translate to English when we enter Uni level. Such a hassle if we were to revert to old ways.

Anonymous said...

Tragically, when a hypocrite speaks, the whole country seems to listen.

Millions had been spent just to switch the medium of teaching medium to BM with colossal and detrimental effects on the standard of education. Even more was spent to switch the teaching of Science and Maths to English and now, the rot continues because a few characters want to continue the trand of colossal damage, one which is sadly beyond repair.

Mindsets, resources, personnel, attitudes cannot be changed overnight with the flick of a pen like what those who walk in the corridors of power can do.

To exacerbate matters, some in certain groups are lobbying for personal gain by arguing that it should NOT continue.

Given this sorry state of affairs and all that is happening now, the fact is the education industry is indeed jinxed and almost beyonf repair unless they revamp the whole system and the marking scheme of the exam board which doubles up as an "A" churning machine.

You cannot imagine the terrible state of affairs unless you are in it and can see the deplorable downward trend in writing skills, critical thinking skills, general knowledge, perception and the whole take on the purpose and meaning of education. I have and that is why I left. A bit idealistic of me but I'd rather leave remembering what it USED to be, than to plod on and to lament on the state of affairs or to try to make things better because to do that - I would need a miracle!

Anonymous said...


My apologies for the typo errors in my previous comment as I forgot to check!!! And I was quite angry with the state of affairs and clicked publish without checking.

So sorry :(.

Should be 'trend' and not 'trand'

'beyond' and not 'beyonf'

My apologies again.

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