Thursday, June 24, 2010

PETITION TO MAINTAIN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS IN ENGLISH (PPSMI) IN SCHOOLS

Many Malaysians strongly believe that the usage of the English language as a medium of instruction for the subjects of Mathematics and Science in Malaysian schools is necessary.

They believe that using English as the medium of instruction for these technical subjects is necessary because a lot of the knowledge of these two technical subjects are written in English.

Young Malaysians equipped with the English language in Mathematics and Science will have full and unrestricted access to this wide base of knowledge in these technical subjects.

I count myself in this category of Malaysians.

As such, Malaysian students who are conversant with the English language will be able to acquire important technical knowledge.

This technical knowledge will help Malaysian students to acquire the necessary skills that will turn them into engineers, architects, doctors, technicians, industrial designers, software engineers and so on.

These are highly paid and rewarding jobs.

It is true that non-English speaking or literate people can also acquire skills in these jobs. It is equally true that English-speaking and literate people can be so lazy and incompetent that they cannot qualify for these jobs.

The fact is, Malaysia has a strong history of being a place where English is widely used. This has been a significant advantage in the global competition for economic progress.

If we never had English, we will not feel its loss.

The fact is, we do have English and, we will, therefore, be fully aware of its loss.

So, please indicate your support to allow parents and schools to CHOOSE to maintain English as a medium of instruction in the teaching of Mathematics and Science (aka the Bahasa Malaysia abbreviation, PPSMI) by signing the petition to the Prime Minister.

Let him know that those Malaysians should have a choice for our children to be under PPSMI.

12 comments:

donplaypuks® said...

Good move. I support it!

dpp
we are all of 1 race, the Human Race

hishamh said...

Signed!!

de minimis said...

Good on you, bro hishamh

Anonymous said...

I agree to the fact that English is important, as much as the air that we breath, but the question is why math and science? We can start with something less complicated, history for example. While the urban school children may not find any difficulties, I don't think the sub-urban are the same, especially the Malay. These two disciplines might have references written in English, but do they need all these references? I think they just need the text book which already written in Malay language. Just my view.

mokjadeandell said...

I quite agree with Anon.Why not PJ and Arts or Musics for that matter.Seen trs struggling to piece together sentences.So much so that its better if only contents be BI and others in BM.
So it could be:Semua living things perlu Oxygen untuk grow.
Rather than having errrr,aaa,ummmm
And let the language parts be the work of the BI Trs.
By the way,Eng trs are blessed with PPSMI .Besides the perks,students' vocab are marvelous.
Agree? Not?

walla said...

The MOE reminds one of a budding artist who having made a contextual mistake decided to enlarge the mistake across the entire canvas in the vain hope and with misplaced ego that people will not notice it.

Petitions such as this on the matter of a universal right puncture the MOE's self-appointed illusion that the government has been charged by the rakyat to prioritize for them the definition of education.

But there will be many who know better. They have seen the world of knowledge and its frightening rate of expansion. The knowledge is all out there, even voluminous handbooks which precisely describe the what and how of setting up dozens of SMI businesses, things which the rural folks can pick up and run with for financial independence. But the lingua franca remains the english language because the experts who wrote them built their own knowledge and expertise on the same of those before them in an unbroken procession of knowledge transfer.

The advanced countries created the techniques and the technologies and they are using them to shape their future. Other emerging nations are pulling out all stops to learn them and use them to catch up and to change their own mindsets, societies and economies.

Knowledge is needed for innovation, now made the new catchword for the next nation-building program. Yet our MOE persists in wanting to complete their canvas in their own parochial way because they are too chicken to admit the government has made the most colossal mistake in nation-building.

The pillars of real nation-building are not infrastructure and spin. They are education and human resource strategy.

These form the essential elements of a country's operating system. Without them, countries can go bankrupt even with mountains of resources and citizens can marginalize themselves from the torrent of progress that passes by them every second of the day of this planet.

By now all should be apoplectic with grief that our education system is going nowhere. The MOE thinks it is a munificent know-all in trying to save the rural folks by blanketing the entire nation in one uniform stream of instruction for those subjects.

They may think that by doing so, the knowledge gap will be reduced between the rurals and the urbans. To what end, one asks, if the final result will be both rurals and urbans ending up disconnected from the real knowledge needed to advance the country in tandem with others who have already raced ahead?

Has the MOE mixed up the word race with the word race?

What is the point of solving an internal issue when it is the external challenge which will determine everything in the end? If they can see the imperative that has shaped things like the NEM and government transformation, why can't they see the imperative that will determine the fate of millions in years to come?

walla said...

3

Don't believe me? Try these and tell me which student/undergraduate out of our education system can read and use them with seamless and fluid ease, and they are just transients falling back into the worldwide web:

http://is.gd/d4r1N
http://is.gd/d4r2Y
http://is.gd/d4r4f
http://is.gd/d4r68
http://is.gd/d4r7c
http://is.gd/d4r8j
http://is.gd/d4r9Y
http://is.gd/d4rbl
and
http://lix.in/-7e3451
(just click continue)


There are other aspects to consider. If the school system is dysfunctional in output, then the tertiary system will be malprovided in input which means their output will be abbreviated in capability in innovation clusters.

Secondly, all the R&D hardware are in the public tertiaries whose currency of knowledge, teaching dedication, even course relevance and student profiles, are suspect; private sector doesn't spend much on R&D; so if tertiaries can't tap off the knowledge world, how will they (a) know they won't be reinventing the research wheels needed for innovation and therefore wasting public funds, moreover irreplaceable time, (b) know what are the hot areas in the commercial world on which innovation can be quickly done, (c) interact with others at an international level to share know-how and get short-cuts, (d) impart real education to their students who will be leaders later in industries which need to upgrade quickly, whether in manufacturing or services?

Thirdly, we seem to be veering away from manufacturing and looking at services. You know it's very hard to patent a service which means if it is good, it will be copied so that what we might be innovating in service will not provide a continuous income stream to the nation. Second-movers always have a better advantage if first-movers droop after their first bites of the apple.

Fourthly, imagine our innovation economy. What will it look like? Won't it by necessity show people who know and can decipher technical and know-how offerings with sure-footed sharpness as to create the appropriate localization filters so that funds won't be wasted, people will be trained properly, and marketing will be done with confidence? If the markets of the world take to english, how are our people going to sell to them our innovations? Ask DBP and MOE to help teach them our national language?

Fifthly, the innovation process doesn't exclusively involve pure theoreticians or specialists steeped only in their fields of knowledge. They may involve engineers who can calculate business viability on the back of an envelope, or sociologists who can flesh out the critical components of a technology; they may involve a scientist who can market a discovery to earn venture capital support or an artisan who can explain the intricacies interwoven in the created work, whether of a painting or a sculpture. They may involve an architect, a lawyer and an analyst sitting together to team out an idea whose time has come.....it's all about a nimble and flexible commingling of skills and ideas from diverse disciplines held together by common aspirations..

And we thought it was just a simple decision of medium of instruction for school science and maths.

Some speak of the need to obtain a complete supply chain. Others speak about wealth distribution. What about competitive integration, the foundation of it all?

walla said...

2

Meanwhile this MOE continues to move all to something which cannot be used and which is unhelpful for students to get ahead on their own later as they graduate into the real world.

It cannot even guarantee free continuing education to redress the humongous mistakes it has persistently been making all through these three decades of monoracist majoritarian muckup's.

One cannot set global standards based on the lowest denominator. That is not socio-economic engineering. That is elephantine stupidity. And i do the intellect of pachyderms sheer injustice.

We ask the MOE a simple, basic, question. Why can't there be multiple streams of instruction for science and maths? If the rural folks cannot study them in english, then their medium is our national language; if the urban folks prefer them in english, then they will continue to be taught in english. And if the MOE think it's better for all to die together than for some to live, then shouldn't it disband itself first for causing such a mess? After all, if the whole country goes in the wrong direction, what is there to save of the economy for the rural folks?

Indulge me a second - on my part, because i have access to all the knowledge in the world in the english language, and i mean all fields and subjects, let me add a sub-question - why can't the national education system have multiple streams of instruction for all subjects? Why can't things like economic geography and history of civilizations be taught in english? Why can't eager young minds get to read Durant's Lessons of History in its original language? Why can't curious adults have the right foundation wherever they are - from kg kerinci to bangsar - to delve into the exotic world of knowledge - without having to try and decipher what has been written by looking around for the translation - which does not and will never exist?

You want an innovative society? Tell me how you can have that within the confines of the above situation and if the people who are supposed to innovate not only don't know but they also cannot know, what more not only can't think but they also cannot be physically fit as one of the new metrics of being educated these days, and that because the MOE has forgotten there are no fields in too many schools, and if there are PE teachers, too many of them are religious abnormalities.

Go ahead, read this post in parliament and play back the sound of any pin dropping on the plush carpet.

It is a waste of time writing this. Because the people who can do something about the situation are themselves stoned deaf. The minister has no guts and gumption to handle the hot potato, his sidekicks don't want to ruffle the water because they are retiring, his supporters never passed their exams on merit let alone show one iota of curiosity as to how the real world operates, and his school heads have to become political animals because they want to get extra funds while the teachers want to get ahead career-wise in a vocation that calls for inner reserves of social sacrifice.

And all are looking at just delivery systems, collapsing into an internal void while the whole ocean of truth lies beyond their reach.

walla said...

4/4

Let me end with a searing observation. The students of one school skip classes in this exam year. They say the teaching's crap and teachers don't turn up. The school has cctv's in the girls' washroom, removed when a vip comes. The canteen pipes leak so that students get wet when it rains. Teachers rush to teach two chapters of a subject in one lesson without making sure the students comprehend anything, then disappear for days while their substitutes just make the students copy out the textbooks before them without any explanation. And there is no field for physical education.

And this is a smart school, model for another new education revival to come in which school exams will be removed until one exam, the SPM.

A couple of things are going to ricochet next.

One, streaming may attenuate so good will mix with bad and since bad are more, standards will be lowered while good will be demotivated;

Two, all will take it easy, especially the teachers. But come the SPM, all will suddenly wake up and scramble to put things in the head. Since they will be doing so for the first time in eleven years in real exam setting, more will be under-performing than what is already happening now. Which means the SPM standard will have to be lowered again unless the MOE has a brain creating machine in its storeroom.

Three, the international admission community including the local twinning programs may soon start to demerit the SPM and set new entry requirements; after all they too have uniform global standards to maintain; their decision will push many back into the local public tertiaries where those even in sophomores look like they are more suited for religious education - because they have not been coaxed to find out, to think critically, to question authority, or to challenge all assumptions.

With things like this, do we have a farthing of a chance to achieve a high-income economy even after the next mayan prophecy in 3012?

Conclusion

The rakyat are going to find their own money, thump their noses at the government, snub the MOE and its cohorts, and run a parallel education system.

Their students may attend the national schools, pick up whatever english they can from the additional classes, then attend tuition in english, read books and listen to audio in english, interact in english, stay away from peers who don't, and mix with the rest of the world to imbibe all the knowledge out there delivered in english.

Then the MOE objective to make uniform the system in order to prevent a gap from opening will end up creating an even bigger gap.

Because people who have done things on their own having paid for things not done by a government won't be in such a hurry to subscribe to anything from that government which has led them down. Especially one run by blinkered substandard 12-12 visioned parochial-derms.

What is the point in achieving pretentious, grudging and temporary unity but at the cost of a yawning knowledge-relevance-income gap determined by the world, not in the remotes of this land or the arabian nights of Umnoland?

Let me throw a question to the MOE smarts reading this:

Haven't you noticed the slide in brain power in this country throughout the last thirty years paralleled by static salaries for our graduates and others?

You may scramble to use your A's output statistics but shall i stand corrected despite knowing better?

Oops, that's two questions.

walla said...

5/4

And the girls' washroom in that school works so bad they run to use the teachers' washroom; that's two cubicles for hundreds for years. The nervy thing is that the school environment mimics the reality of this country. Monday mornings, drowsy long directionless speeches to bored students..but the washrooms have not been repaired for ages. See the parallel in the adult world - long dreadfully empty speeches by politicians while the country sinks into disuse and oblivion.

Who said knowledge is power? It's pain.

CPL said...

What the government refused to allow is the option for science and maths to be taught in English but can allow Chinese and Tamil. And worse still, wants to slow down those who are doing well in english for others to catch up.

All in the name of politics

semuanya OK kot said...

Singapore had the guts to abandon the attempt to downplay English. This may have been due to (a) realising the futility of the mushroom theory of management or (b) getting wind of the fact that China itself was going for English.

Dr. Fong Chang Onn has written lucidly on the threat of our current trends in education. The discussion continues to be oh so polite, skirting around the central issues of jingoism, divide-and-rule and mushroom management. This is because of the reality of draconian laws. This catch-22 situation will continue to be a millstone around our necks.

"Books can easily multiply the skills of the best teachers across a nation, and admistrative changes can free children from the tyranny of lock-step progress in learning. Yet, supposedly democratic education commonly fails to deliver a mastery of language and a basic grounding in these:
– Health, science, history and the variety of cultures.
– Critical thinking and relationships rights and current affairs."