Saturday, 11 July 2009

Maths and Science back to BM???

Back in 2002, when the announcement about the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English was made, I felt a mixture of approval and disappointment.

Approval, because I felt that it was a good move. One that would improve the English language proficiency among Malaysian students.
Disappointment, because I had just missed the opportunity to learn those subjects in English. I was among the last batch who was taught Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Malaysia.

Now, the Ministry Of Education has announced that thay are going to revert from English back to Bahasa Malaysia in 2012.
The reason being that students are yielding poorer results in the two subjects taught in English.
My main concern is what will happen to the level of English of our Malaysian students.

Speaking as a student who was taught all my subjects, except English and English for Science and Technology (EST), in Bahasa Malaysia, I can be called a sideline observer. I have watched while my juniors study those subjects in English and even helped my younger brother in his Mathematics homework at times. I believe that PPSMI policy was a good one but it is the general attitude towards it which has created all the problems. The implementation was maybe too sudden and the teachers were not very prepared for it, since most of them also came from the BM syllabus.

We Malaysians are very driven with grades. We revere strings of A1s. But is it over-glorified??
Now lets look at the English grading in SPM. My teachers used to tell us that 'very easy' to get A1 in SPM English but for GSCE (generally known as 1119,triple one nine) it is hard. I have never understood why we have to have two gradings. I got A1 in both gradings but I have friends who got A1 in the SPM English but a B3 in the GSCE. Why not just show the GSCE grade alone??Is that not a more credible result??

So how can the students do well in Maths and Science when they don't even understand the subject they are being taught in??? Even so, the solution is not to stop teaching in English. That is the step backward that we all should not be taking. Working towards improving English should be the aim. Well, I only hope during the time we have until 2012, they will develop and improve the teaching of the English subject in schools. And also do their best to improve the current teaching instead of letting all the problems continue just to prove themselves correct, that English yields poor results in those subjects.

I supported the PPSMI policy despite missing out on it because I felt that the use of English in those subjects would benefit Malaysian students when they leave school and pursue tertiary education; especially when they pursue professional courses or are sent to study abroad.
I am currently studying to achieve a professional qualification with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). After 2 and a half years in this course, I remain in no doubt that my reason for supporting PPSMI is justified. Being able to speak, read and understand the English language well gives you an advantage,better understanding and saves you from from having to flip through a dictionary too often. We're running a race in this world and being held back because of language limitations isn't a pleasant thing.

Please do not take me the wrong way. I am not against the national language. Not at all. I am proud to be able to speak 3 different languages, Bahasa Malaysia among them. But I feel we must not only know a language; but to know it well. Claiming that we are good in English but saying, "I am boring" instead of "I am bored" doesn't give us much credit. I know it is important to uphold the national language but we must strive to keep up with the rest of the world.

So please support the good use of English.

2 squeaked:

YULI said...

as what i observed, math teachers cant speak well in english. i thik math should be though in whatever language both the students and teachers are comfortable. they're dealing with numbers not in words anyways

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am fully agreed with what you says about in your blog. We should think further for the future.

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