View Full Version : Teaching of Maths & Science in English: Implementation issues

03-11-2002, 09:00 AM
<font size="+1">Teaching of Maths & Science in English:
Implementation issues

Related thread:
<a href="http://www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1752">Teaching of Maths and Science in English</a></font>

"Knowledge, of the incontrovertible kind, where truth is verifiable
to exact quantums and therefore universal, cannot be a source of

"But politicians — the endlessly malleable practitioners of the art
of the possible — have found a way of squaring the circle."

Well said.

The policy has been made. Now's the phase for implementation,
in January 2003. It's just 60 days from now.

Let's monitor how it's being implementated.

Are there further road-blocks? Is there an early-warning system if
foreseeable outcomes sway from the original merits. Is there a
Plan B?

My little 5-year-old has been offered as guinea-pig come 2004.

03-11-2002, 09:08 AM
Saturday, November 2, 2002

Other News & Views

Meanwhile, the Chinese education movement Dong Jiao Zong said the bilingual formula adopted by the Barisan Nasional supreme council to implement the policy of using English to teach Science and Mathematics in the Chinese primary schools would be disadvantageous to these schools.

In separate news reports, Sin Chew Daily quoted Dong Zong deputy chairman Dr Yap Sin Tian and Jiao Zong chairman Ong Kow Yee as saying that the formula, which the Chinese educationists described as the 2-4-3 formula, reduced the hours for mother tongue lessons in the Chinese primary schools.

Under the formula, pupils will have two extra periods to learn English Language, four extra periods to learn Mathematics in English and three extra periods to learn Science in English.

To implement the formula, adjustments will have to be made to the existing timetable including the reduction of hours for the Chinese language.

Dr Yap told Sin Chew that cutting down Chinese language hours would lead to the weakening of mother tongue education in the Chinese primary schools.


03-11-2002, 09:14 AM
3:06pm Sat Nov 2nd, 2002

<FONT SIZE="+1">DAP says policy 'educationally unsound',
will go on campaign to highlight flaws</FONT>
Yap Mun Ching

Dismayed by the compromise by Barisan Nasional parties on the language
switch issue, the DAP today announced a nationwide campaign to highlight the
flaws of the policy.

DAP chairperson Lim Kit Siang said the campaign, scheduled to begin on Nov
19 in Kuala Lumpur, is intended to show that the implementation plan has "no
educational merit whatsoever" and would burden students unnecessarily.

"That this is a politics first and education last policy is best illustrated
by the reaction of the director-general of education Abdul Rafie Mahat, who
was quoted as saying by The Star yesterday that the Barisan Nasional supreme
council decision was purely a 'political' one," Lim told a press conference
in Petaling Jaya.

Ministry in the dark

Lim said the confusion over the matter is evident from the statements made
by Abdul Rafie yesterday on the proposed implementation of the policy

"The ministry is in the dark as anyone else. They have said that teachers
would not be paid more so where is the RM5 billion allocation (in the budget
over the next seven years) going to? It looks like the politicians have
washed their hands over the matter and left it to the ministry," he said.

Lim pointed to the uncertainty over whether Chinese primary schools would
have to teach students the same content in two languages, teach some
chapters in either language, or to teach students in Chinese but with
supplementary teaching of terminologies in English.

"DAP would seriously suggest that all the nine new periods be devoted to
teaching English instead as there is no educational case that using English
to teach Maths and Science is the best and most effective way to raise
proficiency (in the language)," he asserted.

According to him, studies conducted in several other countries have shown
that the use of a second language as a medium of instruction from too early
stages can impede their development and thinking skills of students, and
affect their grasp of Maths, Science and languages.

For instance, Lim said the bilingual education system in South Africa had
resulted in an "educational disaster" with students from the country scoring
poorly in international Maths and Science surveys.

"South Africa came out last for Maths and Science and this is traced to the
use of a second language, English, as a medium of instruction from too early
stages," he said.

Gerakan let-down

The DAP leader also expressed disappointment with BN component party Gerakan
for endorsing the latest compromise although the latter had initially
opposed the government's language switch plan based on the same studies.

"Such educational insights did not prevent Gerakan leaders from compromising
their political principles to agree to the outrageous formula which they
know in their hearts to be completely unsound educationally."

Last August, Gerakan had rejected the government's proposal for Maths and
Science to be taught completely in English to young pupils, stating instead
its recommendation for a gradual introduction of English terminologies in
the two subjects to be introduced only from Standard Four onwards.

However, this suggestion failed to convince other parties in the ruling
coalition, and instead, a compromise was then sought only for Chinese
primary schools.


03-11-2002, 09:20 AM
From: monetsunri@aol.com
Subject: the stupid language switch
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 19:14:42 EST

It's regrettable that some people within the ruling party would do
violence to the education system, all in the name of face-saving.
With "patriots" like them, Malaysia doesn't need enemies.

'Political compromise' to language switch criticised for 'illogic'
Beh Lih Yi
5:47pm Fri Nov 1st, 2002

The alternative implementation for the language switch which was accepted by
the Barisan Nasional supreme council yesterday is the best example of a
"political solution" to education issues in the country, an influential
education group said today.

"It is obvious, the decision was made from a political angle rather than
based on education concerns. For us (educationists), the solution is highly
illogical," Dong Zong deputy president Dr Yap Sin Tian said when contacted.

He said it is preposterous for primary school pupils to devote more time on
the two technical subjects than the language itself in the initial stage of

One-third of timetable

Chinese primary schools currently have seven periods for Mathematics per
week in Standard One, and none for English and Science.

With the new proposal next year, this will increase to a total of 16 periods
for Maths and Science, and two for English.

Six periods of Mathematics will be taught in Chinese and another four in
English. Three periods of Science will be taught in each language.

This is an additional six periods for the teaching of the two technical
subjects in Chinese schools compared with national schools.

"Science and Mathematics will occupy one-third of the school timetable. No
school in any country will implement such a policy for pupils who are at the
initial learning stage," he said.

Yap said a meeting will be held soon with Jiao Zong (United Chinese School
Teachers Association) to discuss how Chinese primary schools should react to

Dong Zong president Quek Suan Hiang when contacted declined to elaborate on
the BN solution beyond confirming the meeting with Jiao Zong.

Dong Zong (United Chinese School Committees Association Malaysia) and Jiao
Zong are more well known collectively as Dong Jiao Zong, though Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday called them "Dong Dong Dong".

Waste of time

Another controversial result of the 'compromise' announced by Mahathir was
that Chinese primary school pupils would need to sit for Science and
Mathematics examination papers in both languages.

This contradicted the Education Ministry's earlier assurance that bilingual
examination papers will be provided and testing in English will only be made
compulsory in 2008.

A parent when contacted said this requirement only goes to show that the new
proposal would bring in more complications and burden the children.

"Are they able to implement it? Are teachers willing to take this burden?"
asked Khoo Kim Seng, a board member of SJKC Kung Ming.

The father of two children criticised the new policy as a "waste of time"
since pupils would be going through the syllabi for the two technical
subjects twice, in two languages.

"If they decide to have additional classes to enable the language switch,
why did they never think of using these extra classes for the teaching of
English itself? This is how we can genuinely 'upgrade English proficiency',"
he stressed.

Game politicians play

Another educationist said the BN Chinese component parties obviously did not
consider the pupils' welfare when drumming up the proposal.

"I pity the Standard One pupils. What sort of game (are the politicians
playing)?" he asked.

Several teachers when contacted said that they would wait for further
directive from the ministry on the implementation of language switch.

The idea of using English to teach Science and Mathematics was first
proposed by Mahathir in May to arrest the declining command of the language
among pupils. His initial suggestion of re-establishing English-medium
schools did not go down well with his own party, Umno.

However, the language switch proposal was also objected to, by various
quarters, especially vernacular education groups.

03-11-2002, 09:21 AM
Kit Siang mentions about a statement by Datuk Abdul Rafie
Mahat, the DG of Education Ministry on the issue.

Mingguan Malaysia carries an interview with the latter November
3 to prick his thoughts.

Ahad, 3 November 2002

<font size="+1">Sistem sekolah Malaysia berupaya lahirkan global player -
Pendidikan kita satu kompromi</font>

...yang menjadi perhatian sekarang ialah bagaimanakah pengajaran Matematik dan Sains akan dilaksanakan di sekolah-sekolah dan sejauh mana kesediaan Kementerian Pendidikan.

Abdul Rafie memahami bahawa beberapa isu mungkin timbul berikutan pelaksanaan pengajaran dwibahasa di SJKC yang tentunya berbeza dengan pengajaran Matematik dan Sains di sekolah-sekolah kebangsaan yang akan hanya dijalankan dalam bahasa Inggeris.

Katanya: "Kita sedar sistem pendidikan negara akan tidak stabil berikutan perbezaan subsistemnya, ini termasuklah apabila satu subjek yang sama diajar dalam dua kaedah berlainan mengikut aliran sekolah.

"Tetapi berilah peluang kepada Kementerian Pendidikan dan guru-guru untuk melaksanakan sistem baru ini. Kami yakin kami akan berjaya menanganinya dan mencapai matlamat yang diharapkan.''


04-11-2002, 05:46 PM
From: monetsunri@aol.com
Reply-To: pahlawan@yahoogroups.com

The old Chinese adage that "three heads can beat one Chuke
Liang" is clearly false: all the "wise guys" from UMNO, MCA,
MIC couldn't come close to a Lim Kit Siang.


The "2:4:3" formula for English teaching in Std. One in Chinese primary
schools beginning next year is a pure political contraption and the product
of compromising politicians who put politics above education and their
political interests above the interests of the nation and the

It has no educational merit whatsoever and could never be conceived by
educationists working solely with the best educational interests of the
children and the nation in mind, as it is "neither fish nor fowl" and can
only be the laughing stock of the educational world.

I challenge the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad to name one country
which is recognized internationally as a powerhouse in mathematics and
science which has the ludicrous system of teaching mathematics and science
in two languages in the first year of primary school!

That this is politics first and education last is best illustrated from the
reaction of the director-general of education Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat, who
said that the Barisan Nasional supreme council's decision was "a purely
political one", with the Education Ministry now having to work out the
details of the implementation - options including "teaching the same content
in both languages, teach some chapters in Chinese and the rest in English or
teach the syllabus in Chinese and have supplementary teaching of science or
mathematical terminologies in English". (The Star)

This is not a recipe for educational excellence but the exact reverse, as
it is not a formula to maximize the educational potential of Std. One
school-children to best develop their thinking and academic abilities but to
impede such a development by loading and confusing them with unsound
educational baggage - which will result physically in heavier school bags
with more text books, longer schooling hours to the ridiculous extent that
Chinese primary school Std. One pupils next year will have the longest
schooling hours in the country, not only longer than Std. One pupils in
national and Tamil primary schools but even longer than older students from
Std. Two to Std. VI.

But the harm such an unsound educational contraption in impeding the
attainment of educational excellence of the students in the long-term will
be greater and more long-lasting than having heavier school bags and longer
school hours next year.

In fact, the "2:4:3" formula reached by the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council
on Thursday for Std. One in Chinese primary schools fails the first test
to fulfil the dual objective of raising English proficiency and maintaining
maths/science standards in Chinese primary schools.

DAP would seriously suggest that all these nine new periods should be
devoted to teaching English in Std. One for Chinese primary schools if
there is to be no further modification of the weekly timetable, as there is
no strong educational case that using English to teach mathematics and
science from the first year in primary school is the best and most effective
way to raise the proficiency whether of mathematics, science or English.

As far back as July and early August, the DAP had tried to bring to the
notice of the educational authorities extensive educational studies
world-wide which show that using a second language as a medium of
instruction from too early stages can impede the development of thinking
skills of students resulting in low achievements in mathematics, science
and languages.

For instance, I had referred to studies by internationally-acknowledged
educationists and researchers of bilingual education, like J. Cummins, M.
Swain, M. Saville-Troike and K. Anstrom which show that a unitary
cognitive academic proficiency (i.e. "thinking skills") underlies all
language performance, and may be expressed through either the first language
(L1) or the second language (L2). The "thinking skills" are developed
primarily through the L1 in the early years, and may then be transferred to
and expressed in an L2 later on. If a learner's L1 remains underdeveloped,
then so does that learner's "thinking skills".

Thus, when that learner attempts to acquire an L2 and pursue studies through
the medium of an L2, that learner will bring lower "thinking skills" to the
task and be disadvantaged.

These studies show that if a learner uses and develops his or her L1 for
several years, and then moves into an L2 educational system at a later
stage, that learner will invariably perform better than a learner who
entered the L2 education system from the very beginning.

This is why Cummins and Swain, after reviewing extensive research results
in this field for the past few decades, reached the conclusion that an
initial period of L1 education is imperative to achieve a higher level of
mental maturity, which can then be transferred into L2 education.

These findings are collaborated by the fact that in the long line of world
distinguished Asian scientists, nearly every Asian Nobel Prize winner in the
sciences like Chen Ning Yang and Tsung Dao Lee ( both Nobel Prize Physics)
had their elementary and/or even high school education in their
mother-tongue, indicating that it is not vital or necessary to learn
mathematics and science in English in the first year of primary school to
distinguish in these fields in later life, provided that one acquires
mastery of the English language in later years.
DAP was delighted when in mid-August, Gerakan endorsed this approach and the
Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik announced after the Gerakan
Central Committee meeting on August 17 that the party had spent a month
studying the proposal to teach the two subjects in English, including
referring to 12 books and working papers presented by eminent local and
foreign academicians on the topic.

Keng Yaik said that the study revealed that although children in Japan,
South Korea, Taiwan and Germany learnt the subjects in their own languages,
countries were still advanced in science and technology. He said most
studies had shown that a student should first have a strong command of his
mother tongue to learn Science and Mathematics effectively.

In fact, South Africa is the best example of a country where the use of
English to teach mathematics and science instead of the mother tongue has
ended in an educational disaster. As illustrated by the results of the
Third International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) in 1995 and the
TIMMS 1999, involving 41 and 38 countries respectively, South Africa came
out last for mathematics and science in both and this is traced to the use
of a second language, English, as a medium of instruction from too early
stages which impeded the development of thinking skills of students
resulting in low achievements in mathematics and science.

Unfortunately, such educational insights did not prevent Gerakan leaders
from compromising their political principles to agree to the outrageous
"2:4:3" formula which they know in their hearts of hearts as completely
unsound educationally.

In the circumstances, DAP calls for all the nine new periods in the "2:4:3"
formula for Std. One in the Chinese primary schools to be devoted to the
teaching of English if the 50-period-per-week solution cannot be further
modified, and this proposal should be seriously considered by both
Parliament and the Cabinet.

However, as it is most ridiculous for Std. One pupils in Chinese primary
schools to be having longer school hours not only when compared to their
counterparts in national and Tamil primary schools, but even older students
in Chinese primary schools from Std. II to Std. VI, there should be a
re-think of the formula in the light of three objectives: to strengthen
English proficiency, maintain/uplift the traditional high standards in
mathematics and science and preserve mother-tongue education.

As a first step, Std. One pupils in Chinese primary schools should not have
longer school hours than older students from Std. Two to Std. Six, and this
can be done by increasing all weekly school periods from Std. One to Std.
Three to 48 periods per week to match the timetable for Std. Four to Std. Six.

For Std. Two and Std. Three, the three additional periods per week should be
devoted to teaching English. For Std. One, one ideal time-table which will
meet the three objectives of strengthening English proficiency, maintaining
science and mathematics standards and preserving the character of
mother-tongue education, will be to distribute the 48 periods as follows:

Bahasa Malaysia 9
Chinese 14
English 6
Mathematics 7
Science 3
Moral 2
Music 2
PE 2
Arts 2
Weekly Assembly 1
Total 48

English should only be used as medium of instruction for mathematics and
science from secondary one.

The "2:4:3" formula decided by the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council should
not be the final answer to what is the best educational system for Std. One
for Chinese primary schools as it fails to meet the triple objectives of
strengthening English proficiency, maintaining science and mathematics
standards and preserving the character of mother-tongue education, and
should be regarded as the starting point for a fuller national discussion
and debate by Parliament, the Cabinet and the civil society.

- Lim Kit Siang -

05-11-2002, 10:02 AM
<font size="+1">New Straits Times:
Use Sedition Act on BN leaders who 'double-speak'</font>

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Sedition posing as dissension

THERE is something profoundly disturbing about the prolonged drama on the use of English in the teaching of Mathematics and Science being played out by certain groups, including those in the Barisan Nasional’s Chinese-based component parties.

...It is easy to suggest that such people be ignored and that every society has its extreme fringe which is also entitled to its views. But the point is that these very people are leaders in the mainstream. Some are leaders at Barisan Nasional's top echelon. But they doublespeak — an art perfected by self-serving politicians whose agenda is the preservation of their political mortality.

They profess to agree, citing national interests as the rationale behind the move to use English in the teaching of Mathematics and Science. But behind closed doors and in a display of cringing toadyism to the cultural chauvinists who lend them political support, they disagree — citing cultural interests.

Maybe this is an idiosyncracy of a few but they are, unfortunately, vested with authority in the party and community.

To deprive schoolchildren of adequate English-language skills is to handicap tomorrow's Malaysians. The nation's progress is at stake. We must be far-sighted and keep abreast of the challenges of liberalisation and globalisation. By continuing to harp on the issue, these minority groups are fomenting dissent and divisiviness. By all means, they should be charged with sedition.


05-11-2002, 05:02 PM
I guess those making these policies really do not have children. These childrens future will be the product of their policies.

In addition to the english language being the door to the world of knowledge ..globalisation.... Look at our syllabus that we are teaching in schools ...is there anything global there... history, geography ..blah blah.

Somewhere there is a gut feeling inside that tells me that this issue goes deeper than what is projected. Not everyone is laying all their cards on the table.

It is sad isn't it ?... I cry for my kids

I am confused, sad, angry and just hope there would be some divine intervention that I will be able to make the right decision on my kids education....my kids future !

05-11-2002, 06:20 PM
These politikus can be in and out when time is up. The education system will be there for ever.

Tens of years ago they abolished English completely. Now they say it is sorry that was wrong ! Who is accountable ? Just saying sorry is enough ?

Now English is used to replace ones' mother tongue. It is known to be an insane move by all the conscious people. Some years later, some other politikus is sure to cry "sorry" for that. What a vicious circle that haunting our country since independence !!

Let's do something to cut it out !

07-11-2002, 11:13 AM
Thursday, November 07, 2002

<FONT SIZE="+1">Free hand on how Maths and Science will be taught in English</FONT>

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese schools will have a free hand in deciding on the method of teaching Mathematics and Science in English from next year provided that it is in line with what has been decided by the Cabinet.

Announcing this yesterday, Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah papers for the two subjects would be bilingual until 2007.

“The Cabinet has accepted what was decided (by the Barisan Nasional last week),” he said, adding that for the two subjects there would be one official curriculum in English.

He said the Chinese content would be a translation of that in English.

However, it had not been decided whether the UPSR papers would be entirely in English or bilingual from 2008 when the first batch of pupils to study the subjects in English sit for the assessment.

“For the next five years, the papers will be bilingual and pupils can choose to answer in either Chinese or English. The questions will also be in both languages,” Musa told reporters after chairing his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting.

...Musa said that national schools would continue to have a total of seven periods a week for Mathematics while Chinese schools would have 10 from next year.

“I am sure the syllabus can be taught in 10 periods.

“How they do it is up to them. The ministry will not impose any guidelines,” he said.

...Education director-general Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat had said on Friday that the ministry would work out a “professional formula” this week following the Barisan’s “political” decision.

When asked to comment on the various options available, he said that Chinese schools could teach the same content in both languages; teach some chapters in Chinese and the rest in English; or teach the syllabus in Chinese and have supplementary teaching of Science or Mathematics terminology in English.


12-11-2002, 12:31 PM
Tuesday, November 12, 2002

<font size="+1">Dong Jiao Zong:
English proposal a disaster for Chinese schools</font>
Koh Lay Chin

KAJANG, Nov 11: Chinese educationist movement Dong Jiao Zong opposes the use of English to teach Science and Mathematics, and in UPSR examination for these subjects
from 2008, as it will mean a “disaster” for national-type Chinese schools.

Dong Zong president Quek Suan Hiang said the movement could not accept the move as it would ultimately spell the end of Chinese schools in the country.

Speaking after a meeting of the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) and United Chinese School Teacher Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong), Quek said the different statements from ministers and leaders had "blurred the situation" beyond comprehension.

Dong Jiao Zong also released a statement, saying it was disappointed that an education issue had become a "political issue".

It said the decision made by the Barisan Nasional supreme council was not only against the norms and principles of education, but also against the wishes of the people.

The movement said while it fully supported the Government's stand to improve the standard of English, the move was opposed to the worldwide trend of education development which strived for "diversity, democracy and higher access to education".

On the 2-4-3 formula decided by the BN supreme council, the movement said it put pressure on education as English, Science and Mathematics occupied 78 per cent of total teaching time.

"It not only increases the problems of imbalance in the subject structure faced by Chinese schools, but neglects the needs of children in physical and spiritual development," it said.

It also said the formula (two periods of English, four periods of Mathematics in English and three periods of Science in English per week) raised many problems as each school with six Standard One classes would have 30 teaching periods, and would need more teachers.

"However, the Education Minister on Nov 1 said Chinese schools would have to decide teacher distribution themselves for the two subjects, and that it would not increase the number of teachers. This will cause more problems with teacher shortage," it said.

According to the formula, Chinese schools would have five periods or 150 minutes more teaching time, compared to national schools or national-type Tamil schools, it said.

"This means students would be under more pressure, including longer teaching times, compared to students of other schools.

"In 2008, when Science and Mathematics in the UPSR are conducted in English, Chinese schools will only have the Chinese language paper conducted in Chinese," it said.

Quek said the movement was of the opinion that if the "unworkable" formula was implemented by force, time would prove its failure.

He said the movement was also disappointed that they were not consulted by the Government and wanted the Chinese-based political parties to voice their views.


12-11-2002, 05:31 PM
my first kid will be going to primary 1 in 2004, smack into the moronic bilingual science & maths idea. looking at it (with an ever growing feeling of despair), i see it going either way - this kid can either turn out to be a genius, having mastered two difficult subjects in two languages, or i'd better have more inheritance for him when he leaves school with a trail of red marks behind him. I'm praying like mad, believe me. a primary school student is a very young child still. i don't understand the workings of politics most of the time but this i know, i do resent my children being guinea pigs to ministers seeking glory in their terms, trying to go down in history as the person who made a radical change. will they themselves sit thru the kind of lessons they want to implement? otherwise, do keep these silly ideas out of the education system, bad enough the way it is. yes, ideas must be given chances to be proven but ideas that have been carried out and failed elsewhere is now tried here, with a fresh batch of kids for experiment? what happened to learning from others' mistakes??

13-11-2002, 07:27 AM
<font size="+1">Commentator James Wong lists 15 pertinent questions on implementation issues...</font>

5:53pm Tue Nov 12th, 2002

Language switch: more sadness than joy
James Wong Wing On

After meeting twice, the Barisan Nasional supreme council has made a second
'final' decision on the language switch controversy.

...The prevalence of such dissatisfaction is perhaps negatively confirmed by
the warning given by Abdullah (Badawi) that "those who continue harping on the
government's decision to use English to teach Science and Mathematics will
be charged with sedition".

If the majority is satisfied, there is no need for a threatening gag order,
is there?

Despite these unilateral claims or assertions that the issue has been
"settled", the influential Chinese educationist group, Dong Jiao Zong,
yesterday came out publicly to oppose BN's decision.

So, who else are unhappy with the second 'final' decision?

First and foremost, the parents whose children in Chinese primary schools
will have to duplicate the learning of Mathematics and Science in two
Second, parents of all races who hold the opinion that learning English
through Mathematics and Science is not an effective way and means to improve
children's knowledge and command of English vocabulary, grammar, sentence
construction and speech skills.
Third, Chinese primary school teachers who worry that their workload may
increase without any corresponding upward adjustment of salaries and
Fourth, rural or semi-rural parents, mostly Malay and Indian Malaysians, who
feel that their geo-cultural environment is not conducive for their children
to learn the two technical subjects in English. And they, being ignorant in
the language, will be unable to teach their children at home, or monitor the
academic progress of their children.
Fifth, parents and Chinese cultural and language groups who worry that the
test or examination papers of Science and Mathematics in Chinese primary
schools would be set in English to discourage the use and study of Chinese.
Sixth, English-educated and English-speaking liberals who actually support
the language switch but think that the ruling parties are irrational and
emotional with regard to the debate, and also high-handed and deceitful in
obtaining support.
Seventh, language experts and groups in the Malay, Chinese and Indian
communities who feel that their professional and expert opinions have been
Eighth, the rank and file of MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and SAPP who feel insulted
and humiliated by the charges of 'extremism' leveled against some prominent
Chinese community leaders and organisations by some Umno leaders and the
Umno-controlled newspapers in the past few months.
Ninth, middle-ranking MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and SAPP leaders who are secretly
disgusted at the hostile attacks launched against their parties by editors,
columnists and writers in the Umno-controlled media.
Tenth, some top MCA leaders, ideologues and strategists who feel that Umno
should not have used 'illegitimate' Team B leaders, Prime Minister Dr
Mahathir Mohamad's Chinese secretariat and the Federation of Chinese Guilds
and Associations to undermine MCA's 'legitimate authority' in BN.
Eleventh, Umno's rank and file who are still very nationalistic and see the
language switch as an erosion of the status of Malay as the official
language, or under pressure from Malay Malaysian parents in the rural or
semi-rural areas.
Twelfth, Umno hard-liners who feel that their top leadership has
'compromised' too much with MCA and other Chinese-based parties, and
'succumbed' to their Chinese-based parties' pressure, causing a steady
erosion of Umno's 'dignity' as a party that upholds the ideology of
Thirteenth, Malaysian liberals of all races and age groups who dislike
government leaders resorting to threats to use repressive laws like the
Internal Security Act and Sedition Act to silence legitimate dissent.
Fourteenth, Anglophiles and non-Chinese educated leaders, members,
sympathisers and followers of MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and SAPP who see their
parties being politically too 'Chinese' in the past few months.
Fifteenth, leaders, members, supporters and sympathisers of opposition
parties who see the proposal and counter-proposals made by BN component
parties without consultation with them and the wider civil society as
examples of 'arrogance of power'.

Who then is happy with the decision?

The answer is rather simple: unelected bureaucrats and advisers in the
Education Ministry and the Prime Minister's Department who got their
salaried jobs done.

Also basking in joy are the suppliers of courseware, textbooks, computers
and language training courses who have already signed commercial contracts
with the government.
JAMES WONG WING ON is chief analyst of Strategic Analysis Malaysia (SAM)
which produces the subscriber-based political report, Analysis Malaysia.
Wong is a former member of parliament (1990-1995) and a former columnist for
the Sin Chew Jit Poh Chinese daily. He read political science and economics
at the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. While in Sin Chew, he and
a team of journalists won the top awards of Malaysian Press Institute (MPI)
for 1998 and 1999.


14-11-2002, 09:49 AM
Thursday, November 14, 2002

<FONT SIZE="+1">Ministry to work out language for UPSR Maths and Science</FONT>

KUALA LUMPUR: The language to be used in the UPSR Mathematics and Science papers for Chinese schools from 2008 will only be known after the Education Ministry decides on how the subjects will be taught from Year Four.

At present, the maximum 50 periods a week allocated are used up from Year Four in Chinese schools, with the introduction of Living Skills and Local Studies subjects at that level.

This leaves the schools no extra periods for teaching Mathematics and Science in both Chinese and English.

“(A decision on the language of the exam papers) will depend on the number of hours the subjects are taught in the two languages from Year Four.

“We will have to work it out,” Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad told reporters after chairing his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Asked when the ministry would come to a decision on timetabling for the subjects at Year Four, Musa said there was no need to come up with an immediate solution as it would be three years before the first batch of students affected entered that level.

Commenting on the Dong Jiao Zong’s opposition to the use of English to teach the subjects in Chinese schools, Musa said the Cabinet’s decision was final and there was “no turning back.”

He also said national and Tamil schools would not face any timetabling problems as the subjects would be taught entirely in English.


14-11-2002, 06:40 PM
"what happened to learning from others' mistakes??"

1st there is practice makes perfect

then u have history repeats itself

what do u do when u learn others' mistakes?

omigosh i sure love these maxims. they end up with perfect repeat mistake makers. i'm sure u know lots of big bums out there who've proven this theory. :) :P :D

16-11-2002, 06:46 AM
4:12pm Fri Nov 15th, 2002


<FONT SIZE="+1">Language switch problematic for public servants, too</FONT>

James Wong Wing On's almost <A HREF="http://www.malaysiakini.com/opinionsfeatures/20021112004899.php"TARGET="NEW">exhaustive list</A> of opposition groups objecting to the switch in the medium of instruction from Malay to English for Mathematics and Science, missed out a big, powerful but hitherto silent group.

They are the public servants which include the civil services, army, police and teachers, writers, performing artistes and others who speak only or mostly Malay, daily.

The language change is sending them an uncomfortable message — that after 45 years of getting along with just one language, they too may need to acquire new language skills.

The ‘official support’ for the language switch is in doubt. I suspect many affected people are also worrying in silence how the change in importance of language will affect their expectations and career choices.

That they may feel a sense of betrayal is not an understatement. Especially, when they hear that ‘goodies’ are being handed to selected groups in the new linguistic venture. What have teachers of English, Maths and Sciences — in comparison to teachers of Malay, Chinese, Tamil, history, geography, etc. — done to deserve more in cash and kind?

If computers and projectors are effective as teaching aids — even if it is unsure if they can replace good teaching and good teachers — why are other teachers not provided with the same?

Is this not outright discrimination against subjects and their teachers? The thoughtlessness in such carrot-and-stick campaign or essentially high-handed political methods, to promote English teaching will arguably not go down well with teachers.

The older ones who survived the switch to Malay almost three decades ago will testify to this. They probably are also comparing the effectiveness of such new gadgets to the tried and discarded educational TV programmes. Teachers and their unions, parents and the parent-teacher associations, will have a long time arguing...

Sadly, all these may result in a poor performance of every subject involved. The current crop of school heads and teachers were all recruited to teach in Malay and will certainly resent this.

The attempts by Umno and its controlled-media to distract the issue into one of ‘Chinese challenging the Malay political preeminence’ is also pathetic. The threats to use the ISA, Sedition Act, etc. is uncalled for as the Chinese educationists movement is not initiating anything to challenge Malay Malaysians but merely concerned for the students’ welfare.

Nevertheless Wong is quite observant in pinpointing the many opposition voices to the language switch — including even those championing the use of English simply because they don't feel comfortable with the government's sledgehammer way in killing just a chicken. What they wanted was the right way to promote a good command of English which nobody in their right mind is opposing in today's globalised world.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is also wrong to demand an end to the discussion when so many people are still against the move. All their frustrations, reservation and resentment will probably show up in the next general election.


14-12-2002, 01:06 PM
Friday, December 13, 2002

<font size="+1">No sign of textbooks</font>
Muzli Mohd Zin

PARENTS are anxious to get hold of the new English, Mathematics and Science textbooks for their Standard One and Form One children for the new school year.

With less than three weeks to go before the new school year begins on Jan 7, some textbooks for the two subjects, which will be taught in English next year, are not yet available in bookstores.

The Malay Mail carried out random checks at major bookstores in the city yesterday and discovered that for Standard One textbooks, only the Part One of Mathematics is available, while Part Two and both the Science's Part One and Two have yet to reach the shelves.

As for the Form One textbooks, only the Part One of the two subjects are available at bookstores.

A spokesman for Pustaka Mukmin in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman told The Malay Mail that they are awaiting full delivery of the textbooks from the Education Ministry's appointed publishers.

"We cannot determine when that (the delivery) will be. But, parents have started asking for the textbooks since after the Raya celebrations," he said.

A Pustaka Minerva spokesman said he understood the parents' concern but "we cannot promise them anything. It will depend on how fast the publishers can deliver the books to us." Among the appointed publishers are Pelangi, Pustaka Cipta, Arus Intelek, Bakaprep and Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka.

A parent, Nor Shuhada Badaruddin, 41, of Gombak, who was among scores of parents looking for the textbooks at Pustaka Mukmin, said she wanted to get the full set for her son, who will be in Form One next year, so that he could familiarise himself with the subjects before school starts.

"We are not an English-speaking family. It will help my son a lot if we could go through the books together first," she said.

She urged the Education Ministry to look into the delay so that parents and children will not be inconvenienced by a last-minute rush for the books.

The Ministry could not be reached for comments yesterday.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Tengku Habsah Tengku Petra said so far, only Mathematics textbooks for Standard One had been delivered to schools.

"I was made to understand that the rest would be delivered soon," she said, declining to elaborate further on the matter.

On preparation by its members to teach the two subjects in English next year, she said the affected teachers had completed three courses organised by the Education Ministry in October and were all ready to take up the challenge.


14-12-2002, 01:17 PM
Saturday, december 14, 2002

<font size="+1">Delay in Science and Maths textbook:
Part 2 in March</font>
Muzli Mohd Zin

An Education Ministry’s textbook department senior officer yesterday said this was because the textbooks have been divided into two and only the first part was ready for the new school year, which begins on Jan 6.

According to the officer, a decision on the matter came about after the Ministry faced time constraints in preparing the English contents of the textbooks.

“Part One of the textbooks are only used by the pupils until May (next year), after which they will continue with the second part of the textbooks,” said the officer who spoke to The Malay Mail on condition of anonymity.

He said the manuscripts of the Part Two textbooks have been completed and are being proof-read before they are sent for printing.

On the Standard One Science subject, the officer said the Ministry had decided that only worksheets would be used by the pupils, and they (worksheets) would be provided at schools when lessons begin.

The officer said letters on the matter have been sent to schools and the State education departments.

This explains why only Part One of the Science and Mathematics textbooks for Form One and Part One of Mathematics textbooks for Standard One have reached bookstores during our checks on Thursday.

The Malay Mail yesterday reported that most parents, not knowing that the textbooks are divided into two parts, were anxious to get hold of the whole set for the children.

Their anxiety was understandable as the new school term is just round the corner and they naturally want to give their children a headstart.

Apparently, bookstore operators were also in the dark over the matter as they thought the Part Two of the textbooks were the workbooks.


06-01-2003, 07:09 AM
The dawn of 'new' learning environment

<img src="http://www.utusan.com.my/pix/2003/0106/Utusan_Malaysia/Muka_Hadapan/mh_02_big.jpg">
GURU Sekolah Kebangsaan Yahya Petra (2), Kuala Krai,
Kelantan, Nik Latifah Nik Kasim menggunakan komputer riba dan
alat audio-video untuk mengajar murid-murid tahun satu,
semalam. - Gambar ROSNI MASRI. (Utusan online 6.1.2003)

29-01-2003, 11:01 AM
Wednesday, January 29, 2003

<FONT SIZE="+1">Teachers churn out makeshift English books</FONT>

FOUR weeks into the new school term, English Language teachers in Chinese schools have assumed the role of textbook writers and editors to come up with their own teaching material.

This is because many schools have yet to receive the English textbooks for Year One from the Education Ministry, according to a Nanyang Siang Pau report.

A random survey by the daily revealed that due to the absence of standardised English textbooks, many Chinese schools subscribe to self-developed materials, apart from re-copying the ministry’s multi-media teaching aids from its software programmes.

Previously, Chinese schools only offered English lessons for pupils from Year Three onwards.

Last year, however, the ministry decided that all Year One pupils would undergo 60 minutes of English lessons per week, beginning this year, in a move to boost the English proficiency level.