Continue Teaching Science and Mathematics in English

by M. Bakri Musa

In May 2003, five months after the government started the teaching of science and mathematics in English in our schools, the Ministry of Education produced a “study” with the incredulous findings of significant improvement in our students’ achievements! All in five months!

Now five years later, research from the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) showed the very opposite results. What gives?

Both studies were prominently and uncritically reported in our mainstream media. That first study was presumably swallowed whole by our policymakers to justify continuing their policy. Rest assured that this second one too would be used for a similar purpose, as an excuse to jettison that same policy.

Despite many attempts I was unable to get a copy of that first study. Nor have I seen it published in any journal, or find any paper credited to its author, raising questions on the credibility of the “study” and competence of its “researcher.”

To the credit of its authors, this later paper is freely available on the Internet, all 153 pages of it. Its lead author is an emeritus professor, a title reserved for retired accomplished scholars, with a dean and deputy dean as his coauthors. Despite its impressive authorship, this study is deeply flawed in its design and conclusions. It does however, expose many weaknesses in the implementation of the policy, in particular the lack of teachers fluent in English.

Embarrassingly Flawed Study

The most glaring deficiency of this second study is its lack of any control group. This is basic in any research design. As the English language policy applies to all schools, you obviously cannot find a control group among current students. You can however find historical control groups by using the test scores of earlier comparable pupils who had been taught and tested in Malay.

With some ingenuity we could still have concurrent control groups, for example, Malaysian pupils attending English schools like Alice School and International School. Another would be adults fluent in English, or even the teachers. If those adults and students in English schools did equally poorly, then clearly the test is not reliable.

When I look at the test questions, it is not only the teachers who are deficient in English, so too are the test makers! Some of the questions are convoluted and would challenge even those fluent in English.

The second flaw is that there is minimal statistical analysis of the data. The pupils were tested and the results simply collated in pages and pages of raw data presented in dull, repetitive and uninformative tables. The authors must be graphically-challenged; they seem to have not heard of pie charts or bar diagrams.

There is also no attempt in delineating the roles of the many variables the researchers have included, like teachers’ English fluency, parents’ educational levels, and pupils’ geographic background (urban versus rural). To do that the data would have to be subjected to more sophisticated statistical analyses, beyond the simple analysis of variance used by the authors. Thus we do not know whether those students’ test scores could be correlated with their parents’ educational levels (a well-acknowledged factor) or teachers’ fluency in English.

There are numerous conclusions based on just simplistic summations of the data, with such statements as X percent of Malay students finding the study of science “easy” compared to Y percent of Chinese or Indians feeling likewise, or R percent of Malay students scoring high versus S percent of their Chinese counterparts. It seems that Malaysian academics, like their politicians, cannot escape the race trap.

These studies were conducted in January, February and July. Even the dumbest students knew that those were not the examination months. They knew those tests “don’t count;” thus skewing the results. The only way to make them take the test seriously would be to incorporate it into their regular examinations.

Besides, in January and February those students had just returned from their long end-of-year holidays during which considerable attrition of knowledge occurred. The difference between the racial groups may have nothing to do with academics but on such extraneous matters as how fast they settle down to their studies.

Of the 27 references cited, there is surprisingly no article from refereed journals. Most (14) are government-sponsored surveys, press releases, and newspaper articles, unusual for a scholarly paper. There are a few books cited, with the most recent published in 2002. There is considerable lag time between what is written in books versus the current state of knowledge. For that you would need journals and attend symposia.

Consequently the researchers’ review on bilingual education is dated. Contrary to their conclusion, it is now accepted that exposing children at a young age to bilingual education confers significant linguistic, cognitive and other advantages. The authors’ recommendation that pupils be taught only in their mother tongue and learn a second language later at a much older age is not supported by modern research.

Studies using functional MRIs (imaging studies) of the brain show that children who are bilingual at an earlier age use their brain more efficiently as compared to those who acquire those skills as adults. For example, when asked to translate between the two languages, “native” bilingual speakers use only one part of their brain while those who are bilingual as an adult use two.
Other cognitive advantages to “native” bilingual speakers include the ability to grasp abstract concepts faster, precisely the intellectual skill helpful in learning mathematics and higher-level science. The higher scores for non-Malays may well be the consequence of their earlier and more extensive exposure to bilingualism than Malays.

Revealing Findings

The study nonetheless reveals many useful findings. I fear however, that these nuggets of information would be lost by those who care only for the study’s unjustified conclusion to discontinue the present policy and revert to teaching science and mathematics in Malay. That would be a retrogressive step.

This study is only a snapshot; it does not enlighten us as to trend. It could be that the results would continue to improve. It is thus presumptuous for the authors to make a sweeping policy recommendation based only a limited snapshot study, and a poorly-designed one at that.

UPSI in its previous incarnation as Sultan Idris Teachers’ College was a hotbed of Malay nationalism. This study is less an academic research and more political polemic camouflaged as a pseudo-scientific study to justify its authors’ nationalist bias. Their data and methodology just do not support their conclusion.

The study found that fewer than 15 percent of the teachers were fluent in English, and that most teach using a combination of both languages. That is putting it politely. In reality they use bastardized or “pidgin” English. If those teachers lack English language skills, how could they teach any subject in that language? The fault here is not with the policy, rather its implementation. We should first train the teachers.

In its naivety the government spent over RM3 billion to equip these teachers with computers, LCDs and “teaching modules” to help them in the classroom. Many of those computers are now conveniently “stolen,” plugged with viruses, or simply left to gather dust as those teachers lack the skills to use them effectively.

The only beneficiaries of that program were UMNO operatives who secured those lucrative contracts. Had the government spent those precious funds to hire new teachers fluent in English, our students would have been better served, and the policy more effectively implemented.

This study missed a splendid opportunity to find out what those students, parents and teachers felt about the policy. It was as if those researchers and their field workers (undergraduates in education and thus our future teachers) were interested only in administering those tests, collecting their data, and then getting back to campus.

Surely those parents and teachers had something to say on the policy. What do the teachers feel about the billions spent on computers? Are they eager to learn and teach in English or do they harbor nationalist sentiments and resent the policy? Those surveys would have helped considerably towards implementing the policy better.

A Better Way

I support the teaching of science and mathematics in English. I go further and would have half the subjects in our national schools be taught in English, including Islamic Studies. The objective should be to produce thoroughly or “native” bilingual graduates, able to read, write and even dream in Malay and English. That is the only way to make our graduates competitive.

I put forth my ideas on achieving this in my earlier (2003) book, An Education System Worthy of Malaysia. I would start small, restricting the program to our residential schools where the students are smarter, teachers better, and facilities superior. Work out the kinks there first, only then expand the program.

I would also convert some teachers’ colleges into exclusively English-medium institutions to train future teachers of English, science, and mathematics.

In rural areas where the level of English in the schools and community is low, I would bring back the old English-medium schools, but modifying it significantly with pupils taught exclusively in English for the first four years (“total immersion”). Malay would be introduced only in Year V, and only as one subject.

Since Malay would not be taught in the first few years and only a limited subject later on, admission to such schools would be restricted only to those with already near-native fluency in Malay or whose habitual language is Malay. Further, such schools would be set up only where the background level of Malay in the community is high, essentially only in the kampongs.

If we were to do otherwise, as having such schools in the cities where the level of English in the community is high and Malay low, those graduates would not be fluent in our national language, as during colonial days. It would not be in the national interest to repeat that mistake. Besides, the problem of our students’ deficiency in English is most acute in rural areas. Thus it makes sense to establish English-medium schools there.

There are many challenges to the policy of teaching science and mathematics in English. One thing is certain. We will never resolve them if we listen to ambitious politicians playing to the gallery or rely on less-than-rigorous “researches.”

  1. #1 by Freddy on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:13 am

    sokong! let’s not make our kids as guinea pigs. let’s not toy with their future as well as the nation’s.

    maths and science must continue to be taught in english!

  2. #2 by Godfather on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:19 am

    You think these people care about the future of our children ? These people care only about VOTES and if the mainstream Malay vote is for science and maths to be taught in Malay, then that’s what it’s gonna be.

    Remember that the cabinet ministers have all sent their children to international schools.

  3. #3 by calvin_ngan on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:22 am

    Support. Reason?

    1. English is an International language, the language of business, science and technology.
    2. It suits well in our multi-racial country, it does not discriminate any race.

    Singapore is a good example for Malaysia to emulate, from education to city planning. It is time for Pakatan to set a benchmark, a target. Time to make promises besides corruption… people don’t care much about corruption, what they care is how much they are going to benefit from all the new policies.

  4. #4 by ktteokt on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:37 am

    These people are so fickle-minded! Way back in the early 70’s, all subjects in National Type schools were taught in English but thereafter, even the medium of instruction was changed to Bahasa Malaysia. All subjects then, including Mathematics and Science were switched over to Bahasa Malaysia.

    After years of training in Bahasa Malaysia for these two subjects, the government discovered problems of expression and now tries to revert these students back to the English Language. Meanwhile, the standard of English dropped seriously and today, I doubt any Form 5 student can write a proper English essay! Having “murdered” a language for more than 3 decades, they are trying “resusitation” now! After discovering that Malaysia is lacking behind in the field of Education, the government now tries to salvage its position. Such is the policies of a fickle-minded government.

  5. #5 by Only Peace on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:38 am

    This is another example of our current government policy of flip floping to gain popularity.

    Wonder what else these scumbs do not do?

    Is there a question of efficiency in Science and Maths to be teach in English?

    If not, how could our minister suggest a weird experiment of ‘teh tarik’ in our angkasawan project?

  6. #6 by fairplay500 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:44 am

    The so-called English teaching teachers need to go to school again, to study English and who to teach it.

  7. #7 by HJ Angus on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:55 am

    It was a tough but necessary decision to introduce more English content into schools as most pupils did not get exposure in their homes; especially in rural areas.

    It is a terrible shame now we are considering another FLIP-FLOP with the lives of our children.

    If teachers are still not competent to teach in English, the blame lies with the Education Ministry and the incompetent teachers. After 5 years, they could have produced thousands of teachers who are trained to teach using English.

    It seems a review of the primary school program should be done – we should focus the first 3 years of learning the basics of reading, writing and reckoning(maths) in whatever language plus more English lessons.

  8. #8 by lextcs on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:56 am

    i would tend to agree with Khairy that we have to tackle not only the useage of english in maths and science but as a whole. Clearly without the proper command and understanding of the basic english language how would our students go forth in tackling those 2 subjects in debate? The use of english must be and continue to be legislated as one of the official language for learning and advancement.

  9. #9 by cinta Malaysia on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:04 am

    Why do you think people like Najib and Hishamuddin have to send their children overseas to study? simple…they do not even trust the education policy they enact!

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:20 am

    “Even the dumbest students knew that those were not the examination months.”

    Eh? What does this make the lead author, an emeritus professor, and his coauthors, a dean and deputy dean? Dumber than the dumbest?! Tsk, tsk.

    “In its naivety the government spent over RM3 billion to equip these teachers with computers, LCDs and “teaching modules” to help them in the classroom.”

    You and I may think the BN-led government was naive to spend over RM3 billion on this project. But, really we are the naive ones. Do you know who were the contractors who made a killing on this project? Were they politically linked to Umno and cronies of Umno? Satu lagi projek kerajaan BN!! More money masuk pocket.

    Of course, as usual, the principle and concept were correct, but the implementation was flawed. How many of our current BM-raised teachers (and even our university lecturers and professors) are comfortable and competent in using proper English, let alone to teach in English?

    Surely we all know that some of the so-called poorly educated elderly peons and cleaners and newspaper deliverers (educated in the 1960s and early 1970s) speak better Queen’s English than our teachers and professors, many of whom would be blasted by Henry Higgins for the “cold-blooded murder of the English tongue” (My Fair Lady)!

  11. #11 by Elwin Heng on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:26 am

    Belief or not?
    Bare in mind, majority of the cabinet ministers have all sent son-or-daughter-or-grandchild to international schools (or ‘highest’ quality, or well-known local school)!

    Doubt why must our generations to be taught in Malay, as compared to his/her lucky (VIP) children to be taught in English? Why must lower my son-&-daughter (the future of our children) learning process or standard?

    Face on the worldwide fact, language is only a way of communication; agree or object, ENGLISH is an international language!

    Personal opinion:
    I want my children to be winner rather than loser! The future of children awaiting success, proud, good future in career, country leader! With one vision, international standard, professional personnel, successful businessman!

    I’m not willing or intention to ‘limit restrict detain’ my lovely son-&-daughters’ future! If they can go far (overseas), why must ‘jail’ and only can survive (cari makan) in M’sia!

    ‘Wildlife beast’ do not deserve our votes!
    Our spirits and loves only alongside MP Teresa Kok, and votes will on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) DAP!

    Warmest regards.

  12. #12 by Freddy on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:30 am

    one flaw is how the examiner gauge teachers’ competency in teaching the said subjects. days before the examiner shows up at school, the teacher is informed earlier so that he/she can prepare to fully satisfy the examiner.

    hence, examiner should make surprise unscheduled visits to schools to gauge teachers’ competency. there are all the jokes coming from the students whereby they have to clean the classroom and to dress up tidily and smartly on the scheduled day the examiner visits! and if that is not enough, the students are taught how to answer to certain questions …… and how to behave lah!


    and what does one make of the upsr, pmr ..etc scores? a, b, c or fail … all depends on a graph! the ministry will decide how many, what percentage …. etc, etc, blah, blah … gets As, Bs Cs blah blah blah… so much so that these exam results are a joke that in order to enter university, sit for an entrance exam!

    politicised, our education system is as good as a joke like syed botak hamid being himself to say that tan hoon cheng was arrested under isa for her safety!


  13. #13 by pangwl88 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:31 am





  14. #14 by gofortruth on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:33 am

    Sorry to digress. Police has isssued a permit to allow a PR rally in stadium tonight.
    It seems so good to be true.
    Uncle Lim, do please get all your PR security officers to screen every participant that they don’t carry any offensive object. You never know “who” may infiltrate among the crowd.
    Take care & all the best to PR!
    God bless Malaysia!

  15. #15 by lkc57 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:38 am

    The words are credibility and sincerity. We are questioning credibility of people like Hishamuddin, his deputies and the teachers. Were they model students in their school days? If they were average students? What makes you think that they are good for their jobs now if they were average students then?

    Incompetence is not a stumbling block. Knowing one’s weakness and refuse to self improve to meet the demands of progress is most worrying. Isn’t this the case among the schools now? The author has rightly identified the general weakness of our English teachers.

    In fact, there were (and are) more problems than one can imagine. When I was teaching in some secondary schools, some teachers (reasonably senior) had approached me with questions in maths and science. These teachers who had never studied in the Science stream were trained to be Maths and Science teachers! A couple of lady teachers had approached me on tips on controlling the class.

    End result: The emritus professor, deans and deputy deans as mentioned by the author. These substandard products of Malaysian education system have infiltrated all nooks in the government service and business sectors.

    Because of these people, the whole delivery system is so inefficient. Because of them, our universities are ranked lowly; our graduates are incompetent!

    Malaysia boleh!

  16. #16 by jw on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:40 am

    Language may changed, but knowledge remains. Why must our children be forced to learn knowledge using languages they are unfamiliar with? Why can’t we let our children enjoy learning? Why can’t the so called “experts” see what our children are suffering now?

    Knowledge will be better understood when delivered in the language we understand.. by pulling the “padi” higher, it won’t grow, it will wilt and consequently die.

    Language is just a tool.. I know Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and English and I am learning Japanese now because i want to read the science fictions animes which my son has sent me. ;D.. I am lucky that the old education system has made me today.

    I sincerely hope that the “experts” will realise and admit and rectify the mistakes. Let our children enjoy learning, please….. they are not “Beijing Duck”..Let them grow at their own pace… I don’t think we need “man-made” prodigies.

  17. #17 by HJ Angus on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:42 am

    Yeah I agree that it is important for PAKATAN to ensure the police do not have to intervene if there are untoward incidents.

    More details at my blog.

  18. #18 by twistedmind on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:54 am

    Just look at the quality of the books translated from English to Bahasa Malaysia from Institute Terjemahaan Malaysia Bhd, the premiere source of translated educational books – you will die laughing.

    What is even worst, the students become completely lost on the subject. We end up with unemployable graduates who learn nothing, reading totally rubbished text books.

    If we can’t even translate book to the medium of communication, what else can we expect? Face it! Science and Maths will never make it in Bahasa Malaysia.

    I am a product of that Bahasa Malaysia era, and I know what I went through – if it wasn’t for my understanding of English and extensive reading that I did after school, I too would be an unemployed graduate working in KFC/Pizza Hut/Burger King/Tesco/Giant etc. Wake up Malaysia!

  19. #19 by hadi on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:57 am

    True and that is the spirit that we want, to dream both in Malay and English and if possible make extra Chinese or Tamil if it is not too heavy. Actually, my humble view ma.., what we want that all citizen can speak Malay and English for communication and office usage and must be proficient and why can’t we go beyond to create an opportunity so that people can learn other languages with motivation and with interest-may be I am idealistic but that big mouth education minister must start cracking with new ideas and have some visions for the future of this nation. Don’t flip flop la…today English, tomorrow Malay and going nowhere. The truth is, this education minister is not fit to be there-just tell me since he sat on that chair, what has he done? I think you know the answer.

  20. #20 by greatstuff on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:19 am

    In my 15 years in Malaysia as an expatriate, I have seen this controversy of English language issue in schools shunted around like a shuttle cock! It saddens me to see those who suffer most are the schoolchildren of today, as well as a generation of adults who by now could have had the ability of competing with their Asian counterparts , were it not for the unenlightened attitudeds of policy makers!
    What a great deal of damage these clowns have made, by insisting that the younger generation are continually kept in the dark. I am continually amazed that the policy makers just don’t see the forest for the trees, and delude themselves that they can achieve anything more than third rate at the rate they are advancing. Phew!

  21. #21 by Loh on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:25 am

    ///I support the teaching of science and mathematics in English. I go further and would have half the subjects in our national schools be taught in English, including Islamic Studies. ///Bakri Musa

    If this is to begin from secondary school, I would support, strongly. The problems were they were forced onto the primary school students. Let the students have a better command of the English language before teaching them mathematics and science in english.

    It is true that all the subjects were thought in English in English schools during the early days of indpendence, and the students excelled in them. English was then the main medium of instruction.

    If the government was not overzealous in its national language policy, particularly after the emegency rule in 1969, the education system in the country would not have deteriorated so badly. Now if the government has not been so overzealous in implementing the wishes of the ex-emperor, teaching of science and mathematics beginning from secondary school would have produced results we all hope for.

    UMNO government has always been in the habit of doing the wrong thing right, and the right thing wrong.

  22. #22 by just a moment on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:33 am

    The real Question should be
    To progress and compete in times of Globalisation

    “Teaching Bahasa Melayu in Maths and Science?”

    Mana U mahu pergi?
    Balik kampung ke?

  23. #23 by Freddy on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:41 am

    And with China poised to overtake America as the world’s largest trading nation in the next decade, the ability to master English and Mandarin would greatly facilitate global business ventures undertaken between the West and the East.

    In Malaysia, a survey of 4,000 human resource managers and directors have found that the lack of command in English (55.8%) is the main cause employers are against hiring fresh graduates. This is followed by poor character, attitude, and personality (37.4%), unrealistic expectations of salary (33%), mismatch of skills learnt and job description (30.2%), and graduates being choosy about the type of jobs (27.7%)

  24. #24 by just a moment on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:45 am

    Pls lah, Bahasa, Mandarin, Tamil is not a subject.
    Its a language program. How can ppl until today are so
    confuse and mixed up, Just beats the hell out of me.
    We have lost at least 1 generation of students when Bahasa is used. Still tak cukup?

    No different in asking questions like:

    Shall we continue to accept that “The Earth is Round?”
    Shall we continue loosing generation of our youth students?

    I would equate this topic as the most “Time Wasting, Financial Draining, Ego-Centric Topics to date!”
    Are there no better topic to address?

    How to create a better economy for rakyat?
    How to attract foreign Investor to Malaysia?
    What is it that Investor prefers Singapore?

    There are thousands of other more pressing and sensible question to tackle. Pls lah, Stop wasting time!!

  25. #25 by hilmimadani on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:53 am

    “calvin_ngan Says:

    1. English is an International language, the language of business, science and technology.
    2. It suits well in our multi-racial country, it does not discriminate any race.

    Singapore is a good example for Malaysia to emulate, from education to city planning. It is time for Pakatan to set a benchmark, a target. Time to make promises besides corruption… people don’t care much about corruption, what they care is how much they are going to benefit from all the new policies.”

    well, I should reiterate u are truly unsensible of our Perlembagaan Negara. Bahasa is acknowledged in 153 as Official Language of our country. To uniform English as our common language among Malaysia, as we are living in multi racial ethnic is also something brainless.

    How come can we speak English when we have our own language? For me, this is mentality of immigrant,(?), obsession on English. Pretend to be Malaysian, but English mentality. Some of the proponent of Malaysian Malaysia, championing the agenda, But dont know to speak Bahasa well! Is it this kind of Malaysian we need?

    Please dont show your ‘brain- less’ on this issue. We agrre that English is international language. But to force Malaysian speaking English nation wide is totally opposed!

  26. #26 by newchief on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:53 am

    ENGLISH IS UNIVERSAL AND THAT IS A FACT- LIKE IT OR NOT!!! during mahatir time, he implemented all subjects to Bahasa in the hope it becomes worldly recognised and used. his intentions were good but once he sent a delegate of malaysian investors to russia, he realised that his people don’t have the perfect knowledge of ENGLISH to understand the contents of the foreigners contents!!! thus he knew he has made a BIG MISTAKE !!! straightaway, he came back to malaysia to change especially Science and Maths into English !!

    however, by doing so, he had made life difficult for the teachers and students!! why? its all because English was treated as ‘secondary language’ and most of the teachers and students (though were very bright) are only ‘half-half verbal and knowledge’ on English!!

    anyhow, there are still those who thinks the best option is to revert Science and Maths back to Bahasa SO THAT THE STUDENTS WILL GET BETTER RESULTS!! for me, its ok if these people can CONVINCE foreign countries to teach whatever subjects that they sent their children to at Overseas TO BE IN BAHASA TOO for the sake of easy pass of exam !!! if cannot , better SHUT-UP and don’t play with MY CHILDREN’s future because CHILDREN’S FAILURE IS SOLELY THE FAULT OF THE PARENTS and not teachers or the language used !!

    i have an idea for hishamuddin . Give the rakyat the option to decide to send their chidren them to schools which teaches Science and Maths in either malay, english, chinese, indian , etc while still maintaining Bahasa as thE primary subject !!

    i’m a chinese but i will think going to china, hong kong or taiwan unless i know ENGLISH because my chinese is terrible- i don’t even know how to read them and i blamed myself for not being interested in the subject during my school days!! however, i will still go because i feel i can use English as the communication tool instead of chinese or Bahasa which is totally out of the conversation!!

  27. #27 by k1980 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:54 am

    Who is ultimately responsible for the millions of students plus their teachers who “no clever speak white man”? (tak pandai cakap orang putih)

  28. #28 by StevePCH on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 10:56 am

    must cari lubang for money Keris said. Change teaching medium ?

    English cannot … use Chinese and spend more than RM100 million again cannot , then use Japanese lah , then Tamil and so on ….

    The root of the problem is not our students. Students are smart.
    I am from a Methodist school and teachers are mix last English speaking generation and “new” BM speaking generation teachers and …. the difference is tremendous. We hardly pay any attention when the “new” generation teacher teaches, just horrible… and they do not bothered either !!!

    Whereas the “last” English speaking generation are very highly dedicated teachers. Be it Malay,Chinese,Indian or Eurasian teachers. So dedicated and highly respected. We are very attentive to the teachers and will normally score on these subjects.

    The Root of the problem is we are producing ROBOTS without care for teaching and disseminating information. Students will get boreed and after the initial hype, all is loss.

    The teachers are the ones required to be retrained either for teaching motivation or for dedication. They are just different. I do hold these teachers highly for educating the nation but obviously something is just not right with the Teacher Traing Colleges, Institutes or Universities’ syllabus.

    No point flip flopping again. Wasting money,time and energy.

  29. #29 by fairplay500 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:03 am

    One of the changes I would like to see in a new government is a sound education policy. English for the first 12 years along with Malay, Chinese and Indian language by the respective races ( a must ). Malay language as a compulsory for all. In this way you can eliminate vernacular schools altogether. It is easier to track the quality of education across the board. Nationalism by it’s self can take a back seat, since this is all incorporated in the education system. The issue of science and math is thus eliminated. Everyone is on equal footing. Do it for the kids before it is too late and start it from the first grade.


  30. #30 by taiking on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:03 am

    5 years and already they are saying that english for maths and science is not working. It took them several decades to realise the mistake in switching to malay medium, shouldnt they let the change go on for another 5 years, at least, before re-looking at the policy? Wait until they finish formal education and join the work force. See what employers have to say – whether the common complaint of today (i.e. poor written and spoken english) still remains then.

    The original aim was to improve student’s english. If that was it then really, teaching science and maths in english is not hitting the right nail. But, at least, given the several extra hours of exposure to that language, some improvement can and should be expected. One thing for sure, if we were to back track now, then we will definitely have status quo ante; and our employers’ complaint will not go away.

    They seemed to have lost sight of their original aim. Instead of looking at students’ performance in the english language to decide whether the change is working, they looked elsewhere. They looked at their science and maths results instead. Are they concerned that the language change might set them back in these subject? If that is so, then they really have got for themselves a weighing scale that can never balance. Any which way they turn, one must be sacrificed, and their pick is between english competency or science/maths knowledge.

    There is something more to be said about maintaining the current policy. On top of improving their language competency, our students will have less difficulty in acquiring knowledge on or about science and technology later on whether during their pursuit of higher learning or for their work. This fact must be counted as an improvement. And this improvement will in the end more that make up for the deficit which our students may have suffered in their earlier years.

    But there still remains the issue of chinese educationers wanting chinese schools to teach the two subjects in chinese. For one thing, teaching chinese students these subjects using chinese language is easier than using any other language. Scientific terms are often specially coined terms. In other words they are not ordinary english words. So these words must be learned as well as the scientific concepts that they bear. In chinese language, however, scientific terms are always stringed together using ordinary chinese characters. And in so doing, the scientific essence of the terms could be apparent or deciphered from the terms.

    One issue which I cannot understand is how chinese students who learned these two subjects in chinese could still cope and progress in the world of science and technology where english is by far the dominant language. We are not alone. Look also at taiwan and china. If I could venture on a guess, I would say it is because the chinese mind is technically / scientifically inclined.

  31. #31 by just a moment on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:06 am

    I have numerous first hand feedback on this “English” thing before.
    A engineer who was working in the Air-force here told me He could not find the word for “Propeller” in Bahasa!! Finally having exhusted with whatever Melayu dictionaries – They called it Kipas ….You tell me.

    Is there any training, product manuals that comes with Bahasa Melayu? Especially overseas product? How much does one spend to get foreigner to train out local Goment servants here? All these are maintenance cost? I’m talking about expensive items here.
    Aircraft, Military wares, Computers hardwares, engineering tools, the list is endless. Think about the cost. Mind boggering.

  32. #32 by cheng on on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:08 am

    Teaching in whatever language is not important.
    The important things are to provide sufficient qualified, dedicated teachers, good teaching aids, well wriiten updated textbooks, laboratory facilities, and to implement right learning attitudes to the children. Children must not be pampered with special privileges etc. They must be made to have interest to learn.
    Japan, Russia, France, Germany, Italy do not use Englih, so what, are their science n technology behind Philippine and many Afican countries (ex UK colony) who use English ?

  33. #33 by just a moment on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:10 am

    Sorry, May I suggest a new topic?
    How about :
    “What would it takes To Ensure the success of Implementing English for Maths and Science?”

    “What support needed to ensure the Success of using English in these subjects?”

  34. #34 by HJ Angus on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:11 am

    I guess we should spend less energy on this English debate and just focus on changing the government as that would enable us to solve many problems.

  35. #35 by k1980 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:15 am

    What’s so difficult in learning English?
    BM: lokasi English: location
    BM: konvokasi English: convocation
    BM: koboi English: cowboy
    BM: informasi English: information
    BM: seismik English: seismic
    BM: teknologi English: technology

  36. #36 by fairplay500 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:21 am

    # HJ Angus Says:
    Today at 11: 11.52 (4 minutes ago)

    I guess we should spend less energy on this English debate and just focus on changing the government as that would enable us to solve many problems.


    Agreed, Just one of the many that need ” REFOMASI ” Nothing beats sound education..

    Now about ISA..

  37. #37 by just a moment on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:25 am

    While Im at it,
    On the other hand, I agree Bahasa Melayu is important.
    But we must not ‘trade-off’ with economic benefits.

    We just cannot afford to loose some more of our youth students who is dead-right handicaped in “English” as economic tools.

    Assuming Everyone is master of Bahasa Melayu, so what?
    Who are you trying to impress? At best, as a tourist attraction of a uniques species. What else? Even if it does, at what cost?

    Can we demand that other country must understand bahasa Melayu in order to trade with us? Other than Goment forms?
    Can we just print Bahasa Melayu in all our Malaysia made catalogs or do we still need to print in English? Are we the leaders in any world demand products that ppl have no choice but understand Bahasa Melayu?

    Its important to put in the right context, Language and Economic related Subjects. Besides, isn’t is cool when we say, Yes lah!
    Can lah! Uniques Malaysia also what. Of course not for business used lah. I like Bahasa Melayu too, the ones from P Ramlee, OK?

  38. #38 by AhPek on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:27 am

    Since the start of Razak’s ‘social engineering’ to affirmative action to their so called ‘meritocracy’ the awarding of Emeritus Professorship will be based on those parameters the end result of which is the shocking qualities of those titled ‘Emeritus Professor’.
    Question to ask is ” Will Malaysia ever have the likes of people like Alexander Oppenheim,Rayson Huang,Chin Fung Kee,John Thumbo Danaraj,Ho Peng Yoke walking through their corridors of learning?

  39. #39 by k1980 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:31 am

    A simple check will reveal that the majority of Science and Mathematics teachers do not possess even a Credit 6 in their SPM English paper. They themselves have to use BM-English dictionaries to understand what they are supposed to teach!

  40. #40 by homeblogger on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:35 am

    Don’t hope for Maths and Science to be continued in “Bahasa Inggeris”. There is already a growing legion of teachers who simply don’t want to improve because they know that fellow (narrow minded and myopic) Malays will complain and eventually they will revert. So they don’t bother to look forward.

    Why just recently, a question appeared in my daughters’ Science paper :

    “Which has a longer tail – goat or cow?”

    The teacher marked “goat” as the correct answer. When parents approached her, she said that she was confused. Confused by what we asked? It’s a simple question. We rather humorously deduced that either the cows in her kampung did not have tails because a favorite dish is “sup ekor” or that the naughty children in her kampung liked to pull the tails of goats until they were longer than that of cows!!!

    We can cry till the cows come home (pun intended), but the fact is that the Malays CHOOSE to remain “jaguh kampung”.

    They love to mimic the idiotic commentaries you see on TV where they speak at lightning speed in Malay in an excruciating “comical” tone (to me at least). I apologize if I offend anyone who loves these sort of commentaries and MCs.

    Back to my childrens’ school. Tuesdays and Thursdays are designated as “English” days where assembly is supposed to be conducted in English and everyone is supposed to speak English. But what we have is the teacher-in-charge going up, saying “Good Morning” and that’s it. They proceed to ramble on in Malay for the next 15 minutes and close with “Now you can go to class”. That is the extent of their command of English. I dare say that if all the teachers’ possessed the English proficiency of the Science teacher mentioned earlier, they know that anything more than “Good Morning” and “Now you can go to class” would make them laughing stocks. Even the headmaster makes absolutely NO effort to speak English. In our conversations with him, you can talk in English, but he won’t understand. There will be a blank look on his face as he tries to decipher what is being said. Neither will he even try to use a few English words.

    As you speak to Malays in English, some of them will say “Saya tak paham bahasa orang puteh”. We have been free of the “orang puteh” for 51 years and today, English is spoken not only by “orang puteh” but by people of ALL skin colors. Yet the Malays continue to treat it as something that is alien.

    Lest I offend my fellow “Hidup UMNO” Malaysians and Ahmad Ismail fanatics, I admit that there a growing numbers of Malays who DO make the effort to speak English. I salute them (except Ahmad Ismail whom I do not consider human).

    I have mentioned to my children that Maths and Science may revert to Malay and assured them that they have nothing to lose but EVERYTHING to gain if the government chooses to backtrack. My wife and I were after all taught these subjects in Malay so there is no problem. I tell my children that in 15 years time when they come out of school and seek employment, they will be eagerly accepted by the business community because of their multi-lingual ability – especially their ability to communicate and express themselves in English. However, their mono-lingual Malay friends who galantly preached and gloated over their prowess and ability to speak 300 mph in Malay will be left with few options :

    – to seek government aid to attend English courses (dejavu)
    – to work for the government where “bahasa orang puteh” is not required
    – to settle for less (office boy, petrol pump attendant)

    I admit I wouldn’t want to be in Hishamuddin’s shoes. On the one hand, he KNOWS that our children HAVE to learn to speak in English. Teaching English (or even English Literature) alone is not going to cut it. Heck, I dare say the Malays wouldn’t even attend religious and Arabic classes if it weren’t made compulsory for them. So to keep teaching Maths and Science would make him look impotent as the keris-wielding fighter for Malay, but to revert would make him look just like another politician playing the populist tune to appease his fellow “non-pendatang”.

    Rest assured, our BN MPs are already planning to take us back to the stone age. They have just completed a paid vacation to Taiwan to learn how to plant bean sprouts. Next we will revert to teaching of Maths and Science in English, then the next BN trip will be to Zimbabwe where they will learn to hunt and skin animals.

    We WILL revert to Malay for Maths and Science I tell you. Ahmad Ismail has already decided it is to be so. He has informed the Cabinet to make all necessary preparations.

  41. #41 by hosengloong08 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:35 am

    even education vision is going nowhere.
    How to believe in Barang Naik?

    We are doom!!!

  42. #42 by AhPek on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:35 am

    Also not to be missed out in my list above is one of the region’s great roving scholar Wang Gungwu who once walked thro the Hall of MU.

  43. #43 by anak_malaysia on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 12:28 pm

    this is so stupid of them… the country’s education is beginning to move forward but now they want it to make a U turn… how foolish!

    anything which is tough for them, they will choose to give up instead of taking the initiative to master it… how can they improve themselves?? they think the whole World will stop for them zit?? that is why the world ranking of our education system is dropping everyday… find a solution in positive way la… can ask the government to increase eng class in national school to solve the problem.. INSTEAD of changing it back to Bahasa Malaysia… dont jeopardize the future generations of Malaysia….

  44. #44 by Loh on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 12:30 pm

    ///One issue which I cannot understand is how chinese students who learned these two subjects in chinese could still cope and progress in the world of science and technology where english is by far the dominant language. We are not alone. Look also at taiwan and china. If I could venture on a guess, I would say it is because the chinese mind is technically / scientifically inclined.///—taiking

    I beg to differ. The minds work the same way, irrespective of race or religion.

    The Chinese schools want mathematics and science to be taught in Chinese not because it was better for the students to learn the subject matter, it helps them in the proficiency of the Chinese language.

    The schools should have more hours teaching English in primary schools. In fact they should only concentrate on 3Rs, Read, Write, and Arithmetic. When the students have better command of the English language starting from secondary schools, they can always do the other subjects in English. Students in Chinese schools in the pre-and immediate post- independence days only used English for science and mathematics in secondary schools, and their achievements are for all to see.

  45. #45 by lhslhv on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 12:42 pm

    One of the most fundamental basic needs of human is survival. In industrial societies, for the city dwellers, how are we going to survive?

    We cannot depend on agriculture. There are no lands for us to farm. We have to depend on commerce and industries to make a living.

    Depending on commerce and industries means that we have to have knowledge, skills and technologies. Where can we find these? It is no other than from educations whether formal or informal.

    Commercial and industrial knowledge is found in English NOT in Bahasa Malaysia. English is a language of knowledge, NOT Bahasa Malaysia. All the famous modern inventors originated from the west. Have we heard of any famous inventions that transformed the world originated from Asia especially from Malaysia?

    How do we acquire knowledge, skills and technologies? We must have the right communication tool, that is English. There is no other tools that is the best for you to learn in order to survive.

    Whether we like it or not we have to change. What is the point of resisting changes when we cannot survive.

    For the Chinese, if they don’t have Mandarin (Pu Tong Hua) forced on the Chinese by Emperor Shi Huang Ti, they will have problems communicatiing with each other now. So what is the point to hold onto the miserable language when it leads you nowhere? It doesn’t mean once the Chinese adopted Madarine their dialects will be forgotten. No! I am still speaking Cantonese after hundreds of years. My wife still speaks Hakka, after hundreds of years since Mandarine had been adopted. Does it make me less Chinese. No! I am still a Chinese.

    Especially in Malaysia with so many discrimanatory policies, prejudice, corruptions, segregation in job markets, and all kinds of inhuman practices you can think of, you (especially Non-bumi) must learn English in order to survive. There is no way out.

    Through my experience, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to learn English during my shool days. Otherwise I will be begging just to survive by now. I cannot be employed.

    When you are in the fourties or fifties, you will not be productive anymore in the eyes of the employer. They prefer to have younger workers to take your place.

    With English language you can learn new knowledge and skills to survive. This can only be found in English technical books. Without English I am a living dead in Malaysia!

  46. #46 by fairplay500 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 12:57 pm

    Is lying permitted during the month of Ramadan? This is directed to my Home minister… Shame on you !!

  47. #47 by trublumsian on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 1:21 pm

    all the characters mentioned in bakri musa’s article highlight one all so familiar theme, that of non-malays need not apply. and bakri, where’s the love for the pasar chinese and plantation indians? from emeritus professorship to the teachers retrained to teach in english, it’s all about the malays. and why spend billions training malay teachers who will not and can not master the language when there is a ready pool of chinese and indians who already speaks english and will merely need a refresher in math and science?

  48. #48 by homeblogger on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 1:42 pm

    lhslhv said :

    No! I am still speaking Cantonese after hundreds of years.


    wow… you’re very old.
    just a joke lhslhv ;-)

  49. #49 by taiking on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 2:24 pm


    You see actually the law has no provision for detention of a person in the interest of that person’s safety.

    So Syed Botak’s explanation in effect may be taken as an admission by him of power abuse which resulted in wrongful detention of the sin chew journalist.

    Back to the main topic. It would be a good idea to revert to using english as the medium of instruciton for schools. Malay medium of instruction is a proven failure and must be discontinued at once.

  50. #50 by max2811 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 2:40 pm

    Politics aside, if we need to improve the English of our pupils, we need to create the old missionary type of school. Staff the school with only English option or educated teachers. We face many difficulties at this stage of implementation. Mainly bcos the teachers are not efficient or proficient enough. Courses are done. Extra pay given. But all efforts seem to lead to a dead end.

    I feel more English periods should be given instead of only 2 per week for level 1 and 3 periods for level 2. Maths and Science should be taught only in English or Chinese instead of using two languages.

    We need to go through this difficult stage before we can progress. It would not be smooth. We need capable ppl to manage the schools instead of shoe polish.

    A lot of money has been spent. It will be wasted if nothing is done to bring the process to a higher level. My first priority is to change all the UMNO lickers in all state JPN.

  51. #51 by lhslhv on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 3:00 pm

    homeblogger, I have no slightest offend for your thought. Don’t worry, I won’t ISA you for this “seditious” comment.

    We have been democratised by civilised society, NOT the rules of the jungle or caveman.

    You have the right to say it even though it may offend others that are less civilised.

  52. #52 by wahai kawan on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 3:01 pm

    Tapa lah!
    Masuk kandang lembu, muuuuuuuuu….
    Masuk kandang kambing, meeeeeekkkkkk….
    Itu buah tanam sudah keluar hasil……………..
    Otak Graduate pun kurang lebih barang!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  53. #53 by homeblogger on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 3:17 pm

    max2811 said :

    I feel more English periods should be given instead of only 2 per week for level 1 and 3 periods for level 2. Maths and Science should be taught only in English or Chinese instead of using two languages.


    And what do they do? They now have Arabic classes which take up one hour per week. When my daughter started year one, they introduced Arabic classes. The parents were told that this was NOT compulsory for non-Malays, BUT if you wanted to opt out, you had to write a letter informing of your wish NOT to have your child participate. In other words, ALL children are opted in unless parents state otherwise.

    Anyway, after lots of parents voiced their concern, the non Malay children were segregated (usually to the school library) when Arabic classes went on. However, this was not consistently observed. Often, my daughter would come home and say that they had to sit in with the Malay children for Arabic. They are not allowed to read any books or talk. If they wanted to, they were allowed to rest their heads on the table. Any fool will tell you that all this while, their young little minds would be absorbing Arabic and all the Islamic teaching that goes along with the Arabic lessons.

    So you see, Arabic is more important than English. They anticipate that in the future, all business communication and scientific research will be conducted in Arabic. Much like they anticipate that Malaysia’s future is in Agriculture.

    Another thing I am displease with is the fact that the English exam papers are split into 2, but their marks are combined into one average mark, whereas the Malay paper is split into 2 individual papers carrying individual marks. Surely this is to level the playing field for the Malays who will fare poorly in Maths and Science.

    Rest assured that if by some miracle we do NOT revert to Malay for the teaching of Maths and Science, the Malay papers will be split into 4, maybe individual marks while the English paper will also be split into 4 or 5 papers with only one combined average mark.

    God bless Bahasa Malaysia and Arabic Language for they will be at the chosen medium of instruction for all the worlds’ best universities!

  54. #54 by badak on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 3:40 pm

    By teaching MATHS and SCIENCE in english is a wrong way to promote the language.Students who are poor in english will not only do badly in this two subjects.But will also do badly in ENGLISH as a subject.
    The best way is to bring back ENGLISH MEDIUM SCHOOLS from standard one onwards.Let the parents have the choise of picking which MEDIUM SCHOOLS they want to sent their children to.
    We MALAYSIANS must be proud of our own language, but at the same time we must understand that the ENGLISH LANGUAGE is very important in the business world.

  55. #55 by cheng on on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 3:57 pm

    Msia unique educ. policy, change medium of instruction for maths & science every 7 years or so ?
    2002 BM to English, 2009 English to BM
    2016 BM to English?? and so on ?? so that Msia can produce maths n science experts well versed in BM n English??

  56. #56 by homeblogger on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 4:08 pm

    badak, your suggestion is the same as reverting back to Malay except on a bigger scale. The end result is still the same – the Malays in the Malay medium schools (this time maybe numbering in the milliions) will be at a total loss when the face the real world of English speaking businessmen and scientists.

  57. #57 by shadow on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 4:35 pm

    Policy makers of education department listen:

  58. #58 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 4:37 pm

    There will no end to all these arguments of what is best for millions of children. Of course, maths and language/s are the fundamental subjects to be mastered for any progress in any medium. The bone of contention seems to be the isue of media. How true this is has not been ascertained by any good and respectable research. Being an ex-teacher teaching such subjects, I would certainly agree that the mind of the child is moulded from a very young age which can handle more ‘input’ then many adults like to think.
    I think the mental obstacle to learning ‘others’ languages and ideas could be affected by indoctrination of fearing to know about others
    in every respects of life! This etched indoctrination will continue to prevent the brain from accepting any thing new. Hence do not explore! do not ask! Of course after a while, the brain simply refuses to think and the course is opened to following the route of lest resistance! The inability to learn a language or maths is essentially related to this basic issue.

  59. #59 by mybangsamalaysia on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 4:39 pm

    Language is not corelated with success in technology. Look at Japan, German, Russia and in some case China, English is not a factor to be successful in technology and science.

    The problem in Malaysia is admitting non qualified professional in teaching arena. Simple garbage in garbage out methodology. As such, i propose we look into the root of the problem. Revamp the intake policy of teachers and lecturers, seriously re-train all exisiting teachers and lecturers limited within 2 years (if still not up to par, sack them or transfer to other departments that they may be good at), period.

  60. #60 by mybangsamalaysia on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 4:46 pm

    Dear shadow

    The term to use is Kulitfication.

    shadow Says:

    Today at 16: 35.11 (4 minutes ago)
    Policy makers of education department listen:

  61. #61 by cactus of sarawak on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 5:49 pm

    Why they send their children over? Well, so that their children are smarter than the children of the average people in Malaysia under this flip-flop type policies. Who gain? Well, again the politician. Ever heard of the “Smart Leads the Dumb”. We the rakyat is the losers if we keep on supporting those policies. Want to compare? No need to go that far, no need US, no need Europe. Just go to Singapore and Brunei, look at how their children speak in English. If not par, it will be better than some of the teachers in school or even some of the lecturers in our glorified UNIVERSITIES. For any understand science, I remember a joke about Tokamak given by someone long ago in the campus. It says this, the Russian is very good in twisting the magnetic field chamber, the American is good in twisting the magnetic field and finally come the champion, Malaysia is very good in twisting the fact.

    I quote this from some way:(Just for fun)

    Three archeologists are sitting and discussing their finding(Show off finding). The American archeologist said that he found a piece of copper wire at a depth of 50 meter behind his house, he concluded that the American already know how to use copper wire 500 years ago. Then the British archeologist said that he found a piece of fishing line at a depth of 50 meter also and jump to the conclusion that the Briton know how to use optical fibre 500 years ago. Finally the Malaysian archeologist paused for a while and gave his side of the story. He said he couldn’t find any artifact even at a depth of 100 meter. This concluded according to him was that Malaysian already know how to use wireless system 1000 years ago. Cheerio..

  62. #62 by k1980 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 6:32 pm

    No wonder Malaysian “broadband” is so slow— it is depending on the wireless system developed by the Chinese pendatang 1000 years ago

  63. #63 by Loyal Malaysian on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 8:42 pm

    I’m afraid unless the PR is able to wrest control of the federal government, the policy of teaching science and mathematics in English will be reversed.
    In what form will the reversal be undertaken is the only question left to be answered.
    The way the policy was implemented was a political decision, this reversal is also a political decision.
    The children, the future of our nation shall be the victims.!!

  64. #64 by tourman53 on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:02 pm

    Get back to those day where we can find English, malay , Chinese and same goes with Tamil medium. Those parents can send their childrens to any school they like and can even enjoy with multi racial with multi language .

  65. #65 by HJ Angus on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:02 pm

    Since the subject is on the standard of English, here is an example
    of how English can be used to call someone “stupid”.

  66. #66 by lopez on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 9:39 pm

    Tis is enteresting, i speak and write english , i passed the english 199
    the 1119 and 1999 is tough lah.

    so Instead i go pass my self the 199….how am i doing?

    Great it is beetter than singlish ..youthink so..thanks a lots

    Just because the politicians who also wants to play headmaster we have to play ball with him and what the heck he only play part time at every 4 or 5 years.

    Denial , denial and denial , these people are very predictable and do not have many reasons to defy use of the english language in our schools education.

    Just dont ever forget chinese among many things brought the idea of affordable education into bolihland and other started imitating and became jealous.

    The british also have their version too as in the parish and churches.

    So the others asked the british to help them set up their own.

    And then trouble struck, some idiot says we must have commonality and started to force changes in the schooling system.

    now they are still forcing the changes, with experiments after experiments but without any hypothesis being set, so they got wrong output and wrong output and they do and redo and repeat the same experiment until today,
    so how bloody more years are needed to complete the experiment.

    All ought to be very educated now considering the amount of time and resources being spent.
    Least not is the experience gain, and gained we got and alot of half baked academians being the products of a short changed $$$ system at the expense of the nation future and competitiveness.

  67. #67 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 15 September 2008 - 11:34 pm

    As I have indicated, a mind already etched with dogma at a tender age will find difficulty to change. A Bumi-friend with average result children is happy that his children have got E.I and I.S.I [ interactive social intelligence ] and they are all doing much better those those who had flying colours in SPM. This came about because of his ‘normal’ life style allowing his children to learn to be street smart. In their desire to gather political mileage. examinations are re-engineered to make the average Malaysian parents happy that their children have got so many As which could not be translated into useful indicators when competing in the market place! They react like parrots in life! hence all the complaints by the employers!
    The school system does not make the students think; they can omly garbage-in and garbage-out! As indicated elsewhere it is not the media of instruction. It is the mind set which is being moulded like cookies from the day the child begin to utter the sound!! There is no way,the situation can be changed unless this mind set of the majority of the Malaysians is CHANGED!!!

  68. #68 by passerby on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 - 3:57 am

    The use of bahasa melayu is part of the grand scheme of social engineering to make all malays into scientists, technocrats, professors, teachers to replace all non-malays. This was a short-sighted and brainless policy and to ensure success of this policy, they purposely reduce the standard to make it very easy for them to pass the exam.

    As a result, we now see all schools and universities are stuffed with these under qualified teachers, lecturers and professors who are struggling to teach something that they are not qualified to teach.

    To be fair, not all chinese or indians are smart and they too have their fair share of idiots. Definitely I don’t want them to be a teacher to teach our children. No one race can be so dynamic to be self-sufficient in every field and it stupid to deny those who are smart from other races.

    We must restore meritocracy and revamp the whole education system. We also have to bring back the teaching of english, since science and technologies are from the west. Malaysia is so far backward and have no choice but to study english to stay abreast with other advance countries.

    We still have a good pool of retired teachers and why not recruit them to start teaching a new generation of students to be the future teachers to replace all those unqualified ones.

  69. #69 by NewDAP on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 - 2:17 pm

    Should also stop the teaching on Science and Maths in Mandarin as it makes our chinese students become unemployable….

    those chinese fanatics only care about themselves and they couldn’t care about your children progress in english and whether your children are employable or not……

  70. #70 by Ramesh Laxman on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 - 9:19 pm

    Please go back and teach science and maths in Bahsa Malaysia. In Korea it is thought in Korean and in Japan it done in Japanese.In China it is done in chinese. What is wrong with those countries. They are all doing better than us.

    Language is only a tool. We have to sharpen it and use it to our advantage.

    I hope the Minister of Education is listening.

  71. #71 by lopez on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 - 10:06 pm

    Oh yes sir the MOE is listening but first a little introduction on how to compare and then draw conclusion

    When you compare , the parameters must be established
    essentially you can only compare an apple with another apple

    simply it means you cannot get a good understanding in comparing between an apple and a coconut.

    more intrinsically, nations have cultures and value system which differs and are unique.

    The nations mentioned have a commonality and that there have a relatively more mono race population than bolihland and we differs from them strongly .
    Whereas bolihland tends to be relatively more multi cultural with respect to her population. It is further made more complex by the composition and distribution of race throughout the nation in geographical sense.

    On the other hand the history of education and their emphasis of importance and development of the mention nation was born earlier that bolihland.

    But if you compare those nations with respect of their strengths and weakness it is a different story all by it self.
    lets see…how
    Bolihlands history is unique too as we have been ruled by a nation which possess strong administrative capabilities in governing nations, in which the world has either directly or indirectly benefited and ….that.. is the rule of law and of english laws.

    It is a known fact that their language , sometimes referred as queens language has evolved to become the “international language” literally it means almost everyone speaks and uses it to comminicate and express themselves.
    International ..? why ..because the world has become smaller and reachable , it is referred as globalisation phenomena brought about by the marvel of the computers and internet and handphones.
    Do you use one too?

    It would a long lesson …so in a nutshell think about this paraphrase by a well known chinese who speak tamil,english, malay, hakka , hokkien , cantonese, and others

    he said “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND” and his nation is one of the most respected nation of todays.

    So before you become a steadfast believer of unilanguage idiot nation you might as well lock yourself up.

  72. #72 by Malar on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 - 1:42 am

    I was told that the government has quietly printed Year 1 maths and science text books in BM. Not too sure how far it is true. The chinese and indians need not worry because these 2 races have always been good in bi-lingual subjects or even more. When the medium was changed from english to malay in the 70’s we managed to excel and when in 2003 maths and science were taught in english we also had no problem. Learning extra languages has never been a problem for us. I think the malays are willing to learn maths and science in english but there is a group who gives negative views and for their own selfish gains, they are trying to blame the rural folks and children for the set back.

  73. #73 by onthestreets on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 - 11:12 am

    I have 4 kids – 3 in primary school, 1 in secondary. It makes no difference to them if they were to learn science & maths in either Bahasa or English. They can are good at both languages, regardless. So, you can be sure that I put forth my opinion without any bias.

    In the first place, have we ever stopped to analyze the real issues that lead to poor command of English amongst our children? How do you expect to cure high fever by taking aspirins or panadols? If we leave it 100% to the politicians, this is what we get. The wrong prescription to our ailments.

    For the state we’re currently in, I put the blame squarely on Dr. Mahathir’s shoulders:

    1) For giving us the wrong prescription,
    2) For implementing the policy in haste,
    3) For not listening and taking in advice from professionals on both sides, and
    4) For conducting a failed experiment on our children.

    Read if you’re interested.

  74. #74 by Malaysia For ALL Malaysians on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 - 11:36 am

    Even before we think about teaching Science, English and Maths in English or Bahasa Malaysia we should revisit our Education policies again.

    The double standards practiced by the Government in helping certain people to go into Universities via the Matriculation system as if they were handicap and needed spoon feeding should be revisited. Even if they needed such attention there is always a way of ensuring that only the deserving will be granted a place in the University. NO PAIN NO GAIN but for some all the way in their life they need crutches. This approach would only make them lazier but the irony is that they could become your bosses no matter what.

    The result a total deterioration of the country on the whole ….. It had started during TDM government, accelerated by him and his policies for political reasons and God knows when/where it will end! My prediction possibly when 2020 comes along we wont be a developed country, no not a developing country but and under developed country!!!, If nothing is done to address this issue. We have to start somewhere and I think where more befitting then in the Education Department. For a change our Kris waving Education Minister should think seriously of his current portfolio or opt to take over from our Minister of Home Affairs who I personally think should be sent to the cheapest government run old folks home where he can accelerate his eccentricity and apply the ISA on himself.

    So the down line is instead of confusing the poor students of all races by frequently changing the mode of education to suit certain sect the Government should identify ways of upgrading the education system for quality not quantity (theoretically), justices to all and not for interest of a certain race and most of all for starters to compete with our neighboring country (Singapore) who are far more advance then us in knowledge and skill.

  75. #75 by matnook on Wednesday, 7 January 2009 - 8:41 am

    I am not an expert in English Language or Science. I was a lecturer with one of the prominent University in Malaysia. I had my basic education in Sekolah Melayu , up to Standard six. Then my father force switched me to Special Malay Class popularly known as SMC!, which mean I was relegated to standards four of English school then. I was hibernating for two years in SMC1 and SMC2 before I was absorbed into the main stream English School.. I received my B.SC, Master and Ph.D from England in engineering. I never had a proper education in Science or Mathematics being in a school deep in the upstream. The only English teacher I had was a mad Japanese Bastard ; a relic from Second World War.; by the name of Cardoza. He is very fat and tall; an expert in Sumo wrestling and boxing.
    In my personal opinion, English is not absolutely necessary to UNDERSTAND OR TO PURSUE science or mathematics. The language and logic of science and mathematic are universal. The subject can be deciphered easily; however with some efforts and hard works. It is akin to a single legged man riding a bicycle. Of course it can move. However in a very stiff environment and super speed pace, a candidate without high proficiency in English will lose out. At tertiary level and post graduate schools, without good command of at least one of an international languages; like English, German, Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish it will be very serious defect.
    To embark into serious research in Science and Mathematics, a researcher needs to communicate based on a common lingo. In this era, one of the universal vocabulary being used is English, as opposed in the 12th century, maybe Arabic was the language of knowledge. It is futile to debate if English is an essential language to master or not.The next question is English necessary to study Science and Mathematics. at what level of study; primary, secondary, tertiary, research.?Why China, Japan, Russia, France, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Austria, Brazil, Chile, and Cuba, progressed in science and mathematics without adopting English as a medium of instruction?
    English is an essential tool of COMMUNICATION in Science and Commerce. If we can agree on this point alone we can proceed with the discussion. Otherwise, I have to rest my case at this juncture. If the language is a necessary tool, then Malaysians have to acquire the needed level of proficiency.
    In mathematics a researcher need to master basic mathematical vocabulary at university level of around 5,000 words and the science vocabulary of around 20,0000 words. Out of this perhaps 10,000 words are essential to a specific specialist level. Medicine perhaps has about 60,000 to 100,000 basic words. It is quite an effort to grasp them, without a good foundation in English. Realistically,it is difficult to excel in medicine without good command of English. This is essentially what is happening in the local hospitals. There exist a vast disparity in terms of competency in harmonizing into the current hospital system between students graduated from English medium education, compared to those graduates from Indonesia, Russian, Japan and Chinese universities. In business world, non English speaking graduates, are given the last consideration in job selection, and post allocation.
    The basic issue here is not the use of English in Science and Mathematics but the concern on the mediocre performance of Malay students in English, science and mathematics subject. Consequently they are deprived of opportunities to proceed to tertiary education. To me it appears that we are beating the wrong camel to move forward. If the poor performance is the issue, where have we gone astray? The minister of Education was very badly advice by the Government administrator, the conversion from Malay to English, was hastily implemented. Not much thought was given to the implementation of the program. The politicians were excited to beat drum of political drama and playing shadow screen pantomime, the Government administrators are busy trying to carve a name to themselves, The educationist I believe are too week to think of anything beneficial for the 1 million students. The program was so ill conceived, very poorly programmed and implemented. The administrators, PTD involved, Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran should be dismissed for making such a colossal mistake and ill advising the Government.
    There was complete chaos. which any administrators should have taken into consideration. There was no preparation in the recruitment of suitable teachers competence in English for rural schools in particular, the readiness and availability of teaching materials for the teachers to teach in English were not coordinated properly, textbooks were no available on time, there were no reading materials in English some remote schools, teachers were not given proper guidance to teach the subjects in English. Some schools in desperation resorted to using Islamic Religious teachers to teach the subjects. Parents were in the state of panic, as the related examinations were approaching and the situations were uncertain. Now another evolution is about to take place. What are all these?. Are they going to repeat the same calamity again ?
    This policy of not encouraging the Malays to be proficient in English language, is disastrous in the long run. Unlike the Chinese an Indian Students; The Malay students are not commanding even the Malay language it self. In the final analysis, the Malay students are not competent in any second language at all for that mater they have not commanded any languages at all. This is shocking. The Chinese students are poised in the best position; they have their mother tongue, Malay, English, many command Mandarin. The Indians generally have good command of English, their mother tongue (Tamil, Telegu, Panjabi, Hindi, or Urdu) , and Malay Language

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