Why can Mara teach Maths and Science in English?

G Vinod
Free Malaysia Today
August 10, 2011

The government wants to abolish the teaching of Maths and Science in English next year but Mara junior colleges will teach the subjects in English under the Cambridge programme.

PETALING JAYA: Even Mara understands the importance of English. Their junior colleges have decided to offer Cambridge programme, said Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page).

Page chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said in a statement this showed that even Mara, which largely caters for rural Malays, understood the importance of the English language.

On Saturday, Bernama reported that Mara would be offering the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education programme, equivalent to an O-Level certificate, at all 45 Mara Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) in Malaysia by 2016.

Currently, Mara director-general Ibrahim Ahmad said, the programme is being offered at the Tun Adbul Razak MRSM in Pekan, Pahang.

He added that the programme, which has 180 students currently, would provide additional certificates for students to pursue their education abroad.

Lauding Mara for being far-sighted, Azimah said this showed that even Mara, an agency under the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, did not agree with the abolishment of PPSMI (the teaching of Maths and Science in English).

“And they obviously bypassed the Education Minister’s (Muhyiddin Yassin) decision.Even rural Malay parents understand the importance of the English language as MRSM caters for rural students,” said Azimah.

While Mara was advancing itself with the Cambridge programme, Azimah said, the Education Ministry was taking a step backwards by abolishing PPSMI.

“And the reversal was decided without understanding the reason behind the poor command of English among our students. Muhyiddin himself admitted that he is clueless on it. So would the reversal help us to attain the desired standard of English proficiency?” asked Azimah.

She then called upon the government to reinstate PPSMI in national schools in order to create a level playing field among Malaysian students.

Whether she would call for the Cambridge programme to be offered in national schools, Azimah said it would be a dream come true if the government were to allow it.

“I believe they’re offering the programme in MRSM as it only involves 45 colleges which is easier to manage. The least the government could do for national schools is to reinstate PPSMI,” she said.

In 2009, Muhyiddin abolished PPSMI and announced Science and Maths would be taught in Malay effective 2012, in a move widely seen as to appease Malay language nationalists.

The PPSMI project, mooted by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was implemented in 2003 to address the declining proficiency of the English language among students.

  1. #1 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 12:56 pm

    Because muyiddin doesnt understand England. so nobody must do better than him. That’s his ketuanan rights. understand??

  2. #2 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 1:26 pm

    I am just wondering why MARA only takes in MALAYS? Isn’t the word MARA suppose to mean MAJLIS AMANAH RAKYAT? So, that means ALL OTHER RACES are not RAKYAT?

  3. #3 by Godfather on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 2:52 pm

    Because Mara is for the elite. The masses can continue to study in the dark and be fed BS like mushrooms.

  4. #4 by Loh on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 3:28 pm

    ///The government wants to abolish the teaching of Maths and Science in English next year but Mara junior colleges will teach the subjects in English under the Cambridge programme.///

    That is called one country two systems. Mara students are the people destined to rule this land, and so they enjoy the education system which makes them employable. Students in non-Mara streams of education are the subjects to be ruled by Mara products.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 4:56 pm

    Mara have a track record….to issue diplomas to thousands of Muslims for so many professions that are not fit to be call themselves ..qualified high intelligent students.
    Mara have a track record that hundreds of millions are given out loans to Muslims…and not getting back…and never tell out…inspite of the fact…it is tax payers money they are dealing with.
    Mara is UMNO B’s racist tools…to win votes.
    All the so call lecturers should go back to school and learn to master English language.
    In the past…Mara did well to teach poor Muslims how to open stalls and sell buggers…pau..fried mee or beehoon…to compete with the Chinese for a living…..where some became successful.
    Mara as a centre for learning?
    Don’t make me laugh.
    it is more a centre for making Muslims stay happy…behind time.. and vote for UMNO B.

  6. #6 by kpt99 on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 9:12 pm

    The Nationalist language group and Perkasa should come fast to lambaste MRSM for not patriotic and loyal to the country by using colonial language as medium of instruction.

    They are free to learn any language whereas others cannt,really double standards

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 - 9:39 pm

    I wonder how can our ‘terror terror’ ministers never encourage or undermine the importance of English learning.Is it kiasu mentality to compete with others non their own which will severely undermine their ketuanan or kautualan but bohhood.boh-liau,watashi wa zen zen(totaly) wakarimasen desu yo.Sad desu ne?

  8. #8 by dagen on Thursday, 11 August 2011 - 12:22 pm

    Because muhideen has great vision. He saw bahasa malaysia as a world language one day. That the tenth president after obama would be addressing the american congress in bahasa malaysia. And that by then the most sought after international school in the world would be Sekolah Dunia Jenis Ketuanan Umno. Therefore starting today, we all switch to BM.

    But by then the rest of us non-umnoputras would be forced to learn english (not BM) – assuming that umno would still be around then which of course is a wrong assumption, I am sure.

  9. #9 by isahbiazhar on Thursday, 11 August 2011 - 12:40 pm

    Mara from its inception had emphasised the importance of English education.When the malay fanatics raised their voices to replace English to Bahasa it was done in the interest of uniting the races and bringing the faith in national patriotism.It worked well because Mara could fill the gap where English educated Malays were concerned.It was also the place for the Malays to get easy money for education and business.It worked well till tbe malay population expanded and when Islamic scholars realised that they had been misplaced and displaced.It went on till Mahathir realised that the private sector had all the non Malays where wealth was created.To arrest the situation and the cry of Malays being stupid in the usage of English in business he expanded it to national schools under the premise that teaching English in Mathemtics and Science will narrow the gap between the malays and the non malays.It did not work well.The Chinese benefitted but the Indians and the malays lost.The very idea Mahathir brought to prop the malays became the bane of the malays.Naturally mahathir could not go against his own idea.This is where Muhyuddin came in as the education minister.At the same time malay language fanatics played their part helped by the malay opposition.It was decided to abolish the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English.The card fell back but it stopped where Mara was concerned.We made the Mara scholars to study both languages and that gave birth to the present situation.Muhyuddin is happy but to keep his election victory possible and to get the votes of the non Malays he blew the wind again igniting the weakness of English teaching and the non remedial phase of English.What went wrong?Is he blaming Najib or the former education ministers(one being Hishamuddin) for not doing enough to uplift English education in this country?Election is coming and to keep the issue of English out ,Muhyuddin had stirred the hornet’s nest.He wants to show to the public that the government cares for everybody but Mara had shown that they care for the Malays and not the nation as a whole.When Mara students can study both the languages at ease and with confidence ,there is no valid reason why the national schools cannot teach Science and maths in English.Muhyuddin has the answer.Just before election the school system will be revamped and the school hours will be extended till afternoon where enough time will be extended to teach those who want to learn Science and Maths in English and they will be able to sit for any foreign certificates.For the non muslims ,time will be allocated to teach the religions of theirs.The government will spend money on free meals for all.The stipulated expenditure will be US4 billion but it will be the ultimate to change the voting of the non malays and the rural Malays.

  10. #10 by tsng on Saturday, 13 August 2011 - 2:35 pm

    [1] I believe every contry needs affirmative action as a form of social safety net to help the under privilege gain social mobility.

    [2] Affirmative action is especially important for the underprivilege child because the world model under the capitalist system thrive on competition which favours those are well equiped by good socialeconomic background.

    [3] Such capitalistic system could be quite cruel to those who did not succeed in it. And in any competition, there will always be losers. And society as a whole is responsible ensure that those who lose out should not be punished. And also to ensure those children who grew up in such underprivilege families be given every opportunity to gain social mobility. It is in the interest of the society to ensure every child grow up to be useful member of the society. The best way to do that is enable equal access to education.

    [4] Figuratively speaking, affirmative action should be about training and equipping people so that they are be able to scale a mountain. However, it is not about helping them by carry them up the mountain. It is also not about shaving the mountain so that it becomes easier to scale. In the Malaysia context, nep has done just that and those who benifited from affirmative action take it as if they are born into such privilege, it has become their birth right.

    [5] Affirmative action is most applicable in the area of education. As educating a person will supposedly enable him to gain social mobility as well as conditioning of his mind so that he would not became a nuisance to the society. Hence every county in the world provide compulsory free education.

    [6] In school everyone should be equal and school uniform is symbol of that equality. The rich, the poor, different ethnicity all sit on those same chair and table being taught by the same teacher, using the same curriculum. Quality of education is regulated so that all may receive the same without bias to any group. The school is also where students of different ethnic background come together to learn from each other, fostering understanding among its culturally diverse society. School is also about learning the respect of authority and discipline.

    [7] In the Malaysian context, our education system is one of the most fragmented. We have malay school, chinese school, tamil school, national school and private school. We also also have mrsm that is not under the ministry of education. Can we foster social tolerance and give equal opportunity under such unequal access to education.

    [8] It appear to me, our education standards has been watered down, perhaps to reduce the performance gap between of the rurals compare to the urbans. These leads to those who can afford private education(british curriculum) receiving a better education. Hence, education as a means of providing equal opportunity to the poor is no longer equal. The rich now has access to better quality education while the poor and middle class could not, and with that the rich would gain even better social mobility compare to the poor.

    [9] Affirmative action in the form of providing equal education and thereby equal opportunity to all has fail miserably. These is endangering our country. It has kept the ethnicity of our nations apart. It has allowed the rich better access to education, which would eventually made the rich richer and the rest poorer. And one should not blame the rich because of the watering down in standards of our national curriculum. Please do compare our mathematics curriculum to that of singapore.

    [10] Now recently, all 45 mrsm would implement british curriculum on top of our national curriculum. What is that suppose to means? Clearly it also meant that the british curriculum is superior to that of our national curriculum. As mrsm is accessible only by most bumiputra, it also mean only certain ethnic group has the privilege to access to better education. So the affirmative iniative set out by mara to help the rurals poor to access equal education has now become a privilege to access better education as british curriculum is not available to the rest of the nation.

    11. Tun, I wrote this comment with a heavy heart. I personally feel that education is the very basic needs and right of every child and rakyat. It is the bedrock of our future. Each and every rakyat regardless of race, religion and socialeconomic back ground deserve equal access to high quality education. Those who succeed should also have equal opportunity to access higher education. It is most unfair in the name of nep to deny a poor smart rakyat access to higher education. For the poor, education is his on chance for social mobility.

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Saturday, 13 August 2011 - 7:45 pm

    Typical divide n rule strategy
    Educate some selected individuals while suppress most so dat d latter kow tow 2 d former
    MRSM students r d selected, so must b proficient in English so as 2 further their studies overseas; they will bcome d future masters

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