I seldom rant about current issues here. In fact, this is the first time.
It seems to be the hottest topic now, that’s it, the reversal of the Teaching of Math and Science in English (PPSMI) policy in all national schools.
The government has decided to reverse the policy from teaching mathematics and science in English back to Bahasa Malaysia (BM) after 6 years of implementation (since 2003).
I can understand why the government has made such a decision.
A good friend of mine who teaches in a Chinese primary school has been ranting to me about how difficult it is for the students to learn mathematics and science in English.
However, there’s always two sides of the same coin.
I’ve seen two different arguments between the government and our former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir.
The government scrapped the policy simply because the policy has failed to improve the English language proficiency among the students. And most importantly, 80–90% of the teachers are unable to teach the subjects in English.
On the other hand, Tun M’s argument was more about mastering the subject of mathematics and science rather than the English language itself. So that our future generations can become inventors rather than followers.
The government has never mention anything about Tun M’s argument while Tun M has never mention anything about the government’s argument as well.
However, I feel like Tun M has much more stronger points compare to the government. Learning all those mathematics and scientific terms in BM is just pointless. Because at the end, we have to learn all the terms all over again in English. I’ve been through the process myself. It’s a waste of time and effort.
Besides that, improving the English language proficiency by teaching mathematics and science in English? I just don’t buy that idea.
It seems to me that the policy failed not because of bad policy but because of bad execution. Yes, failed to execute, the policy was good. I think execution is always the biggest problem in Malaysia. From government to private sectors. They could come out with world class ideas but most of the time, poor execution will just turn the plan into another poor project.
Reverting the policy at primary school level is reasonable, but at secondary school level as well is just incomprehensible.
Well, this is a very difficult choice for the government and the people. If the government plans to re-evaluate the decision, I hope they strike for a more balanced approach.
That’s Malaysia for you. They always seen to fail at what they did and the end result is not always good.
I do agree to your point that teaching math and science term in BM will be a waste of time since when the student enter college or university will need to relearn the term again but this time in English.
Furthermore, English is a very important language since it can help to communicate with other easily in different country.