The current debacle whether Mathematics and Science subjects for Primary School should be continue to be taught in English or reverted to Bahasa Malaysia is stemmed from teachers who refused to improve their own English language skill.
Utusan Malaysia is quick to point out that the lack of preparation, including having teachers who are not proficient in English, has foiled the Government’s plan to train students who are good in Mathematics and Science.
Ask teachers who are comfortably teaching Maths and Science in English and they will tell you that the students can take it. The main problem is the teachers who are assigned the task is not proficient in English. Most of those teachers are Malay who refused to take the initiative to improve their English.
If the teacher is not capable of understanding English, how do we expect the Government plan to succeed. The government has spend billion of Ringgit on behalf of the Ministry of Education to purchase IT equipments, preparing English courses and materials but those egoistic Malay teachers refused to attend those courses. They still want to teach in Bahasa Malaysia instead of progressing to teach in a second language. All the government spending going the drain yet no result was achieved.
No decision yet on Math and Science in English policy
By LEANNE GOH and KAREN CHAPMAN
PUTRAJAYA: The wrangle over the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English continued with seven proposals put before the final roundtable meeting yesterday.
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.
These proposals were summarised from four roundtables organised by the Education Ministry since July to gather feedback from a spectrum of stakeholders.
However, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who chaired the fifth and final discussion yesterday, cautioned that the purpose of the dialogues was to gather feedback from all parties.
No decision on the issue would be made at this juncture.
“We will put together a report for Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who will then study it and submit the ministry’s findings to the Cabinet for a decision,” he told a press conference.
What was disclosed for the first time and of great interest to the 180 participants present was the analysis of the recent Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR), based on the performance of the first cohort of Year Six pupils who have gone through six years of learning Maths and Science in English.
“Overall, the trend has been positive. Pupils have actually done marginally better in many instances. More pupils in both urban and rural schools scored A, B and Cs in the two subjects.
“Even their performance in the English language has shown a rather big improvement of 4.4%, while the performance in Bahasa remained stable,” said director-general of education Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom, who presented the analysis.
Another encouraging sign was that the number of pupils opting to answer the two subjects in English had increased significantly, reflecting greater confidence in using the language.
In Tamil vernacular schools (SJKT), 62.76% of pupils answered in English for Science and 89.11% for Maths.
It was a totally different scenario in Chinese national-type schools (SJKC), though. Only 2.86% answered in English for Science and 1.29% for Maths.
Split right down the middle over language
PUTRAJAYA: There are as many advocates as there are detractors to the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said participants were free to speak their mind.
“This is why we are here ... we are listening to the views of all stakeholders,” he said after chairing the ministry’s fifth roundtable discussion on the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English.
Senator Lee Chee Keong from MCA said the party wanted Science and Mathematics to be taught in the mother tongue in primary schools.
“The statistics show that very few students in Chinese primary schools are answering in English. In fact only 2.86% answered in English for Science and 1.29% for Maths,” he said.
He said this showed students were either not able to understand or unable to answer in English. At the same time, Lee said there should be more English periods in schools in order to ensure students were not left behind.
“Students should be able to study the two subjects in English at secondary-school level,” he said.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S.K. Devamany said the MIC did not have an official stand on the issue yet.
“We want to get stakeholders to put forward their views before we make a stand,” he said during a break at the ministry’s fifth roundtable discussion.
He said the MIC education bureau had met Tamil school headmasters and those from the teaching fraternity, adding that the feedback received was mixed.
Devamany, who is an MIC central working committee member, said the party planned to meet with parents next.
“Parents have the right to decide what they want for their children,” he said.
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairman Noor Azimah Abd Rahim said it represented parents in both urban and rural areas who wanted the subjects to continue being taught in English.
“As parents, we feel that the students’ English will improve if the policy is able to continue. It will also give students a competitive edge,” she said.
Dong Zong (United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia) chief administrative officer Kuang Hee Pang said the ministry must be clear on whether it was English or Science and Mathematics which was important.
“Students should be able to use the mother tongue to study the two subjects,” he said.
Poor preparation marred teaching of subjects in English
Other News & Views
Compiled by TAN SIN CHOW, NG CHENG YEE AND A. RAMAN
THE lack of preparation, including having teachers who are not proficient in English, has foiled the Government’s plan to train students who are good in Mathematics and Science, said Utusan Malaysia.
In its editorial, the daily said the problem had also resulted in students who were “lucky” enough to benefit from the teaching of the two subjects in English.
“The main objective of implementing this policy is to train students who are talented in the two subjects while improving their English.
“However, we do not want the policy to only include students from urban areas while those in the rural areas, especially Sabah and Sarawak, do not benefit from it,” it said.
The daily said the round-table discussion, which was held yesterday, must provide substantial evidence to show that the policy was able to improve the students’ competency in the two subjects.
It said that if relevant parties believed that it was still not the right time to implement the policy, they would have to clearly explain the reasons.
“The decision on whether to continue implementing the policy should not be taken lightly as it will affect the future of the education industry.
“A small mistake can affect the life of the rakyat, especially those who are marginalised and deprived of various facilities,” it said.
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