Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maths & Science in English - Let's Have A Referendum

The recent debate on teaching of Science and Maths in English has also brought about the worst in all of us, Malaysians. Every other group released and published research papers favoring their point of view.

Most of these research papers highlighted the failure of the policy citing recent years' UPSR, PMR and SPM results and concludes with how well the students education, upbringing and career would be if they are educated in the mother tongue, i.e Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil.

This year's UPSR results suggest that more students are now choosing to answer questions in English. I think the policy is fine, just that the implementation needs to be improved and enhanced further.

The roundtable discussion organised by the Education ministry is now reaching it's final stage. In a Malaysian give and take style, a compromise is apparently being worked out where teaching science and math would only be in secondary schools.

I cannot see what the benefit of this is. Fed up with the nonsense by education and political groups, a group of Parents (The Parent Action Group for Education-PAGE) has sprung to the defense of the policy. But PAGE is represented by parents around the Klang Valley therefore their views may be just of those in urban areas.

On the other hand, we have a serious threat from the Chinese Education Group. Read here.

Dong Jiao Zong threatened to launch a massive protest action should the government decide to continue with its policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English. They claim that the teaching Science and Maths in English is the greatest threat to Chinese education.

They also continue to champion so-called mother tongue education and conveniently ignoring the fact that Mandarin is not the mother tongue for majority Chinese Malaysians. The same applies to the proponents of Tamil education in this country.

If their claims are true enough, Dong Jiao Zong should also undertake research on the impact of teaching in Chinese medium on all other subjects to thousands of Malay and Indian students in Chinese schools.

More importantly, if they do really defend mother tongue education, they should be principled enough to bar non-Chinese student from being enrolled into a Chinese school and advice non-Chinese parents to enroll their children in Tamil and National Schools.

This threat of massive protest only confirms that education groups like Dong Jiao Zong are the greater threat to the peace and security of this country rather than an education policy. They are willing to threaten the government if things don't go their way, no matter that the decision has not been made. How irresponsible!

Political parties, obiviously afraid of losing support of the Chinese, have so far, I believe, not responded to this threat.

I personally think that the people, apart from some racist education groups and the ministry should be engaged in the decision making. Most research papers undertaken are skewed to reflect the preference and opinions of parties with vested interest. So it highly unlikely that the views presented by these interest groups reflects the true wishes of rakyat, especially parents and future parents to be.

I call for a referendum to be undertaken throughout the country to decide on this issue once and for all. I think there has not been any referendum undertaken in Malaysia for a long time. It's about time we do it and not leave such an important decision to the whims and fancies of politicians, race based education groups and other pressure groups.

For Once, Let the Rakyat decide..


Rakesh Kumar said...

These research papers remind me of a method used by late novels, Mickey Spillane. He usually writes the ending first, and then works his novel to that ending.

Selected thinking, selected reading, selected everything maketh the desired research papers for these people, I suppose.

I have written many “research” stuff in my blog. They are intentionally skewered for ridiculous result that I wanted. I didn’t know these people will do the same for serious.

AbGJaS said...

Dear Bala,
Referendum? I am all for it (Maths n science in English.

Anonymous said...

Dear Balan,

This is the first time I drop by your blog. Your thoughts are nicely put. I second your proposal of having a referendum over this matter. Let the Rakyat decide how the education system should be.

Allow me to link your blog with mine. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Strange Balan,

I find English such a simple language to learn. Infact, I personally teach my 5year old kids how to read and write within 30hour lessons.

Phonics for English reading. Bahasa Malaysia came automatic, with just some exceptions of "c" for CAT (kucing) and CAT (paint).

Infact, I organised a group (neighbours children) to join to make lessons more interesting. The rest is history, once they become independant readers, hook them on the Net, attend regular SK/SMK it is straight A's right through Universities!!

Why make studies a burden to children? Make it FUN and INTERESTING!

By 10yrs, my son flew on his own to London, confidently, to be met on the other end by his uncle there. He even told me he could THEREON, on his own, if allowed, take the tube from Heathrow to the READING.

In Reading, for a month, was given exposure as Guest Student in St George Palmers Primary. He could communicate INSTANTLY and became INSTANT friends with his teachers and classmates THERE, in UK?..

What a pity my children cannot communicate at all with the CHINESE children around the Kampung IN MALAYSIA because ALL these kids attend SJK and cannot communicate even in BM or BI!!. No problems with Indian kids, good BM and even excellent English.

Only chance they are able to interact with the Chinese kids at KIDDY LEVEL was when I sent them for holiday workshops, where all Chinese children are fluent in Bahasa and English.


Anonymous said...

I am all for Maths & Science in English. I am sure many agree with this move. Let it benefit our younger generation.

Anonymous said...

Saudara Balan,

This rejection of English for Maths and Science is nothing more than capitalizing on weak leadership.

This is just the start. Many more "requests" will be made if the government bends over for this.

There is no problem, I see with the usage of English for Maths and Science. Since, Bahasa Malaysia is outrightly rejected by the DOng Jiao Zhong types, then why not accept English? A universal language and an easy one to master.

It is just that it all boils down to exploitation of education system and education groups by politicians (all of them) for their own personal gain.

Great article as always, looking forward to the next one.

Anonymous said...

I think we should asked those students who were made to experience this PPSMI does it really helps their plight in those subjects. Make it a survey. From my personal experience with my brother, he told me that learning those subjects in english does help him in the university now. And his english is better than me. Not that I am telling my english is good but if his english is better, then PPSMI maybe the factor here..


Jitu said...


Perkara yang merisaukan saya ialah tentang protes Dong Jiao Zong sekiranya dibawa ke jalanan. Kalau dapat, saya nak dengar sendiri kata-kata sokongan dari pemimpin politik yang bersetuju dengan rancangan tindakan kumpulan ini. Saya percaya, hanya yang berfikiran sempit sahaja yang akan bersetuju.

Sekiranya protes jalanan diteruskan saya pasti 13 Mei akan terjadi. Kumpulan yang akan ikut serta protes ini nescaya dari kumpulan yang juga Anti-Melayu. Dengan slogan dan jeritan yang Anti-Melayu semasa protes nanti, saya percaya akan menaikkan kemarahan orang Melayu yang tidak boleh dikawal lagi emosi mereka. Saya harap, perkara ini tidak akan berlaku atau pun dibenarkan berlaku.

Bagi Dong Jiao Zong, Mandarin adalah bahasa ibunda kaum Cina. Siapa yang hendak diperbodohkan. Saya masih mempunyai ramai kawan yang tidak faham bahasa Mandarin kerana mereka bertutur dalam bahasa kantonis dan hokkien di rumah. Apakah bodoh sangat rakyat Malaysia hingga senang terpedaya dengan tipu helah mereka. Saya harap kaum India tidak terpedaya dengan helah kumpulan ini yang sebenarnya hanya mementingkan diri sendiri.

Pada pandangan saya DEMI PERPADUAN, bahasa Malaysia perlu difahami oleh setiap rakyat. Tetapi mampu bercakap sahaja tidak cukup kalau kita tidak bergaul sama antara kaum dari kecil. Tidak ada yang lebih baik dari bermula diperingkat sekolah rendah hingga ke Universiti. Sekiranya sekolah satu aliran tidak dipersetujui, sekurang-kurangnya sekolah satu bumbung seperti 'Sekolah Wawasan' diguna pakai. Semuanya ini perlu, agar PERPADUAN dapat dibentuk sejak anak-anak kita masih kecil lagi.

Masalah belajar Sains dan Matematik dalam bahasa Inggeris, saya bersetuju dengan anda. Ramai yang inginkan ianya diteruskan. Dong Jiao Zong lupa masih ramai kaum lain di sekolah Vernakular ini. Pada saya tidak perlu referendum kerana membuang masa dan duit rakyat. Kita tetap tahu apa akan dikatakan oleh pihak Dong Jiao Zong jika keputusan tidak menyebelahi pihak mereka.

Pada saya, Kerajaan teruskan saja polisi sedia ada. Apa yang lebih penting ialah menaikkan mutu pembelajaran dalam bahasa Ingeris dari setiap aspek baik guru, buku, sokongan, penyampaian ilmu dan yang lain-lain.

Anonymous said...


You are one product of an estate right? So was my family.

We have been thru difficult and hard times where basic necessities are considered luxuries right?

Electricity (kerosene/generator dependents), water collected from rooftop gutters, scarce during dry seasons, dirt roads/log bridges, very bare medical facilities and
schools, a 3hour journey if weather permits!

That was the reason why I had to teach my kids personally how to read and write BM/BI.. facilities to us then were so UNAVAILABLE.

Yet, have you wondered why our children, despite all odds, some excelled and even came out as Professionals with their own private Practices?

Good Gosh! WITH THE FACILITIES THEY ARE HAVING RIGHT NOW, these people are fighting for Vernacular Schools?

Real JOKERS!!!


Knights Templar said...

Probably a Referendum wont be the answer to this balan ...For knowing these Jokers...they will have a Referendum" to have a Referendum"...and till the moon turns blue ...we would not have acheived nothing ...This time around i think Hishamuddin and the Cabinet wont budge ...street demo or whatever ...the govt wont be held at ranson over this ! end result will be english will be in maths and science ...Period !

Shalom my friend ...

balan said...


Thanks for your comments.

Note : Feel free to comment, however comments with profanities,obscenities and abusive language will be removed.

I still allowed your comment, since it had only one four letter word.

Anyway, I only discussed about the idea. In fact, it was brought up in Parliament, the right forum to do so rather than an UMNO related forum.

As a Malaysian (forget party politics, racism etc) ,the idea make sense and merits discussion. I am all for it.

Philip Lee said...

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

I can't see why we cannot take 1 step forward to integrate the BM textbooks few years back with the current English science and maths text books. Its a lot of effort, but why move backward instead of forward. We can allow students to use either English or BM to answer in the exams as long as the maths and science principles are correct.

Some good will surely come out of the dialectics at work between both languages instead of choosing either one. We need new advancements. We need Malaysia Boleh. Not some power struggle between languages.

When will Malaysia advance and not hold on to race and language as stumbling blocks but embrace our differences as advantages?