Re: Teaching of Science and Mathematics in BM year 2012
I don?t understand the need to have the teaching of Science and Mathematics reverted to Bahasa or to any other mother tongues ? it doesn?t make it any easier for the students either way ? because we don?t use advanced scientific jargons in our everyday conversations, so independent of whatever language is used, a student would still need to learn new vocabularies anyway when learning Science and Mathematics as a new subject!
And since there will be costs incurred when the government reverses the teaching of Science and Mathematics to Bahasa, just like when the government took great pains to have these subjects taught in English a few years back, why not use the funding for these costs to better the existing system instead? Obviously the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English is quite new and needing some improvements, but we can ill-afford to oscillate between the two language systems. We already switched once, and if we cannot be resolute enough to follow through this new system, i.e. the English language system, how can we expect ourselves to do the same when we revert back to Bahasa? When we switch, we have to re-train the teachers, change the textbooks, and wait what? Another six years for the students to adapt again? Ultimately we might even find ourselves back at square one with the same problems and same situation, unresolved! Time is a costly commodity, and we want our education system to improve by leaps and bounds within a short period, so it?s better to stick with the English language system and start make improvements!
Besides, having Science and Mathematics taught in English is a very strategic policy especially for a developing country like us. It is simple economics knowledge that countries expand their production possibility frontier and become stronger economically when they absorb new technologies ? the reason why some countries are motivated to send industrial spies to other countries throughout history. Flowing from this, if we want to emulate the success of countries like UK and US, then we have to absorb the more advanced technologies to improve our industries. Since these countries usually use English as a language of technology, we should adapt to it. But the learning of sciences is like building more advanced knowledge upon previous knowledge. If we only change our language medium to English at a higher level, for e.g. at sixth form, some students might not be able to adapt as well as others and lose their way altogether. This is precisely why our emphasis should be on teaching Science and Mathematics in English, and not improving the people?s prowess in English!