Teaching Maths and Science to revert to BM

UPDATE: Finally it has happened! (read here) 8/7/09

The Malaysian Insider today reported the likelihood of a reversal from using English to BM to teach Maths and Science for the Primary School level (read here).  It was reported that the vernacular schools will teach these subjects in Mandarin and Tamil.  It seems that there is little discernible difference in results which can be attributable to the use of English which implies no negatives.  In fact, most students chose to answer their exams in English.  So why the change?  Shouldn’t we focus on improving Math and Science?

If this be true, it will be a remarkable first of education policy flip flop being influenced by a demonstration and some public outcry.  There are equally loud voices on both sides of the divide but the Ministry of Education is appearing to be influenced by the so-called nationalist public outburst.

Today’s The Star reported that about 1,000 signed a memorandum in support for teaching Math and Science in English (read here).  So, will the Ministry of Education listen to them now?

Who stands to gain?

Hishamuddin, our Minister of Education, may be seen to appease these nationalists for his Umno election purpose.

Textbook publishers will make lots of money publishing new books for this purpose.  And now with the free textbook policy, the Ministry of Education will have to fork out an undisclosed amount to get the new books from these selected publishers very soon.

Who stands to lose?

Poor parents will have to adjust yet again to another major change.  The teachers will have to teach the Primary School classes for Math and Science in Malay.  Teachers teaching English after school will no longer have to teach and lose their RM300 allowance.

The children at Year 1 affected will not matter much at this stage as they are yet too young to figure out.  Perhaps that’s what the Ministry of Education has come to a compromise that the Primary years will have little impact if the change is made.  But the rest of the students will have to cope with a change since they have started to learn Math and Science in English.  Furthermore, the Ministry of Education has yet to figure out the transition from primary to secondary as well which is of utmost importance.  Half baked policy changes will not do.

If this policy change be true, we now have the Ministry of Education playing around with the future of our children and our beloved country.  Such changes within 5 years of implementation shows that the policy has been affected by politics rather than a clear strategy to help improve the standard of Math and Science of our children and our country.  It now shows that the Ministry of Education cannot have done the in-depth study to the merits of the reversal of the policy but may be looking at purely the political angle.

We will all be asking what our Minster of Education has done for our children in his many years in service.  The answer will be confusion and indecisiveness.  This is totally reflective of the Badawi Administration especially of recent days contributed by Pak Lah (to marry or not, dissolve parliament or not), Nazri (approval and then disapproval to use the word “Allah”) and the Cabinet (highway toll rise on and then off).  Perhaps this is the only consistency of this Administration.

We had trusted our children’s future into the hands of the Ministry of Education and 5 years ago, we believed they did the right thing to change the teaching of Math and Science to English.  Obviously, the experts must have done their in-depth research and felt that strongly to make the change.  Tun M, as he recently confessed in his blog, fully supported it.  The public at large had full support of this policy.  Nobody objected.

Now, if the news is true, will see the other side of the divide coming out to protest the change back to using Malay to teach Math and Science for the Primary levels.  It will show that Malaysian leaders cannot make up their mind and prefers to play with the future of our children.

The University levels have slided in world rankings and the TIMSS research shows our children dropping in levels for Math and Science yet we are still debating on whether to use English or reversing the policy in using it to teach Math and Science.

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education must focus on improving the standard of Maths and Science of our children which will in turn impact our country’s future.

We really don’t care which language is used but the change of policy seems preposterous and flippant with little regard to the potential damage that can only be seen in the coming years.

If the students graduating through the Malaysian education system does not have a good grasp of the English language, we will have pushed our country backwards.  Even a country like China who prides themselves of their national language is doing their utmost to have their people learn English to compete with the rest of the world.  What more our beloved country, Malaysia?

Parents will have to take charge of their children’s future and must no longer depend on our Minstry of Education to look after them given the Ministry’s display of little concern for these precious lives and future leaders of Malaysia with easy changes of policy.

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7 Responses to “Teaching Maths and Science to revert to BM”

  1. ‘We had trusted our children’s future into the hands of the Ministry of Education and 5 years ago, we believed they did the right thing to change the teaching of Math and Science to English. Obviously, the experts must have done their in-depth research and felt that strongly to make the change. Tun M, as he recently confessed in his blog, fully supported it. The public at large had full support of this policy. Nobody objected.’
    This is a blatant lie.
    The change was very quick with no feasibility study conducted, the teachers, schools and education dept were caught offguard, the teachers have to be suddenly retrained, late deliveries of hastily written textbooks. This was Tun M’s decision which became and order (not recent confession in his blog!), protested by experts (linguists and educationists) along with the opposition parties.

    • So if there’s a reversal done in the same haste doesn’t make it any more right then. Opposition to the policy is not the issue. It’s not looking at the improvement of the levels of Math and Science that’s the problem. I personally don’t see the teaching of Math and Science in English having any downside but all the upside. Nothing to do with improvement in the handle of English either. It facilitates the students’ future when they enter university.

    • Tun M hasn’t been in controlling power since he retired. Even if he did have power, what is our government doing then ? Letting a retired person play politics from his home ?

      Further more, whose mistake was it that teachers were caught off guard and the books given late. Was it Tun M ? Or was it the sorry implementation state of the Education Ministry?

      • Tun M can do what he wants. It’s a “free” country and he has his unique influence from his blog.

        Implementation is by the MOE and they have always been a problem to date. Good strategy with poor execution.

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


    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?

  3. I was looking forward for the future of Malaysians to be able to conduct well in not only one language, but also one of the international language.

    But now, I think it will be again hard for those who go for higher study who have to struggling in English as well as losing the advantages of knowing English well in higher study.

    Aren’t the government wish to train more brain in this country? The “brain” are in western country as stated by Deputy PM in today’s news. If we to learn their technology, aren’t we first have to confidence in thier language first? There’re many languages that we can learn. English is the common use for many countries and places. Today we have the chance to learn an international language and master it. But why giving it up?

    For rich parents, they can send their children to overseas or even local private school. But how about those many who can’t afford, but yet want their children to be able to learn one more language that can be benefit to the country in the future.

    Do Government really think that by having fun to learn English will improve the English standard in this country? Can student really understand why they need to learn English? If we can’t see the importance of English, then why do we have to learn English? Yet do not want to mastermise it.

    See what happened to our middle generations. Many of us are unable to speak good English or even afraid to speak. Because the country have given us the impression that Malaysian must only speak National language. But when we’re in the real world working in private sector, English is one of the most important language. This includes writing and speaking.

    Do our government understands what language is for? What is the purpose of learning a language? If the government decided to go backward, then must prepare for giving up what was a good struggling start that will all go into the drain. It will be again have to struggle for another start in the future, yet found it difficult, and gave up again? Are we a nation of easily gave up what is supposed to be benefit to the future?


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