Friday, 10 July 2009

The most sensible thing I read about PPSMI (the teaching of Math & Science in Malay, I mean English)

(This essay first appeared in the Centre for Policy Initiatives and Malaysiakini.)


Maths and science: The case for BM

by Helen Ang

( 9 & 10 March 2009 )

Part 1:

Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran.

We might dream about creating a breed of Malaysian scientists and mathematicians but we’re losing hordes of children who don’t even have a decent grounding in Math and Science due to PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam bahasa Inggeris).

1 Prof Mohamad Tajuddin Rasdi commented that the move to teach Math and Science in English was made with “such rapidity that it boggles any management team to implement”. The public did not hear about any feasibility study nor were there any debates or concerns that built up to the radical switch.

2 PPSMI was implemented in January 2003, coming at the tail-end of Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s tenure. “Tun Mahathir sort of woke up one day and decided to change the languages of the two subjects”, Prof Tajuddin noted. Dr M’s ‘Eureka!’ moment came after Malaysian kids have been learning Math and Science in Malay for almost four decades.

3 Dr M’s executive order was given against a backdrop of massive unemployment among local graduates which he blamed on their lack of proficiency in English. At the same time, private colleges offering courses in English were burgeoning. The PPSMI directive did not originate from the Education Ministry but was instead the premier’s personal initiative.

4 The PPSMI project – it was revealed in Parliament last May – has already cost taxpayers RM3.2 billion over the last five years. A significant portion of the money was ostensibly spent on ICT equipment. Further billions have been budgeted to see through the programme. Is it an enrichment of pupils or of cronies, one may ask?

5 We have completed a cycle of PPSMI. In 2008, the pioneer batch finished their Year Six. Yet last year, only 31.1% elected to answer the UPSR Science paper fully in English, while 68.9% opted to use Malay, or vernacular (Chinese/Tamil), or a combination of languages.

This rojak language feature is unheard of anywhere else in the world. Would a 12-year-old in England submit his Science answer script in a jumble of English-French-Urdu?

6 Close to 70 percent were not confident enough to sit the exam in English. In absolute numbers, that’s 352,641 pupils. It is mother tongue instruction that’s most effective for children as countless studies have shown. Unesco endorses this formulation. The European Union similarly adopts a mother tongue education policy.

7 Is it so incomprehensible to the vocally pro-PPSMI urbanites that English is alien to the majority of rural children?

Furthermore, Math and Science teachers who are themselves deficient in English will not help improve the pupil’s language command. In fact, a likely scenario is that kids will pick up English grammar mistakes from Cikgu during Math and Science periods.

Wrong to scapegoat BM

8 A most oft-cited argument in favour of PPSMI is that the bulk of reference material is in English. But we’re talking about seven year olds and 11 year olds. They don’t need to refer to advanced textbooks and academic papers.

They’re not required to write a thesis using English jargon. Foundation level Math and Science deals with basic concepts that can be explained just as well in BM or vernacular.

Even at ages 13 to 15, schoolgoers don’t specialise in Math and Science. Not everybody aspires to be a scientist.

9 Three scientists of Japanese ethnicity shared the 2008 Nobel Prize for their work in subatomic physics. They obtained their PhDs from Nagoya University and University of Tokyo. They learned their Math and Science in Japanese…I’m sure.

10 Let’s say that a science magazine discusses the field of their Nobel prize-winning endeavour with words like ‘particle accelerator/Large Hadron Collider’, ‘CP violation’ and ‘Higgs boson’. Mastery of English doesn’t necessarily help a Form Five student comprehend the contributions of the Japanese trio.

Only by being very good in Physics will the 17-year-old Malaysian find the article illuminating. English is not a magic key to unlocking scientific aptitude.

11 The problem with Malaysians doesn’t lie with the language of delivery. It lies with the passive education system, the teachers’ dispiriting approach and the by-rote exam structure (practise, practise, practise past year test papers, spot questions). These methods fail to foster a scientific mindset.

12 Impressive Math and Science scores in domestic exams do not automatically make Malaysia a great science and technology nation. Does Malaysia have the requisite technology base (except in the automotive industry thanks to Proton), flourishing R&D sector as well as incentives to absorb those future graduates who intend to do original research?

13 What’s the real value of an ‘A’ in the Malaysian exam system? The revamped PSSMI syllabus has been dumbed down compared to the BM curriculum it replaced.

14 Not only that, the GMP (movement to abolish PPSMI) has alleged that in order to cover up the failure of the policy, the Education Ministry has resorted to lowering the passing mark to 30 percent and thus beefing up the pass rate.

National language, national identity

15 Article 152 of the Federal Constitution makes Malay our national language. It is the language for ‘official purpose’, i.e. “any purpose of the Government, whether Federal or State, and includes any purpose of a public authority”. English has no official purpose in schools.

16 The Education Act says that the national language shall be the main medium of instruction in all educational institutions except Chinese and Tamil schools. It does not provide for the existence of English school.

UPSR in national school has six subjects; the core subjects Math, Science and second language are in English. To all intents and purposes English has become the medium of instruction. If the government insists on proceeding with PPSMI, it should amend the Constitution and change the law first.

17 In national-type schools similarly, the school’s Chinese character is lost while ‘doubling’ wastes precious time when Math and Science are taught overlapping in both English and Chinese.

Chinese primary schools are feeders to the independent Chinese high schools whose students take the UEC. This exam is recognised for entry to universities in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Australia and some European countries. PPSMI will kill the UEC, and seal off alternative avenues to higher education if students are incompetent in Chinese language.

18 PPSMI benefits the ‘haves’ and disadvantages the ‘have-nots’. Poor parents lack the resources for private tuition, not that there are tuition centres anyway in the rural and remote areas.

Nor are these parents capable of giving home tutoring as they themselves are not well-educated. And in settlements and long houses, children do not have access to facilities, computers and laboratories.

English-speaking parents desire the easier path paved by English access, otherwise their kids will have to adapt to English later at college level. What is advantageous to them comes at the expense of the majority losing out in Math and Science (see results). PSSMI shifts the burden to young rural children while those exposed to an English-speaking environment cruise ahead.

19 It is not for the greater good to penalise many to advance a few. Since 1982, all first degree courses have generally been taught in Malay at our public universities. For close to three decades, these tertiary institutions have been producing graduands who obtained their qualifications in Malay. We’re a Malay-speaking polity.

20 Finally, the standard of BM has risen in inverse correlation to the decline in the standard of English. Our socio-political milieu is undeniably Malay. Unless we’re willing to alienate ourselves in ethnic enclaves, it’s untenable to continue living in Malaysia if we do not encourage our children to be adept in Malay or at the very least, keep up.

PPSMI by sidelining the national language turns the accepted notion of nationhood on its head.

Part 2:

We have completed one cycle of PPSMI. In 2008, the pioneer batch that was taught Math and Science entirely in English finished their Year Six.

Yet last year, only 31.1% of Year Six pupils elected to answer the UPSR Science paper fully in English, while 68.9% opted to use Malay, or vernacular (Chinese/Tamil) or a combination of three languages (English-Malay-vernacular). Good grief! We’ve formally brought the Malaysian rojak culture into the classroom.

An unintended consequence of PPSMI is that of turning the UPSR haywire – its rojak language feature unheard of anywhere else in the world. A parallel would be, say, a 12-year-old in England submitting his Science answer script in a jumble of English-French-Urdu.

Close to 70 percent of Malaysian Year Sixers were not confident enough to sit the exam in English. In absolute numbers, 352,641 pupils.

Taiwan and Korea topped the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)* in 2007. Taiwanese and Korean children don’t learn Math and Science in English.

Hong Kong children taught in spoken-Cantonese and written-Chinese also ace Math and Science. On the other hand, Filipinos are fine in English. Do you ever hear that the Philippines is tops in Math and Science?

Two countries usually considered technological powerhouses are Germany and Japan. Imagine if German and Japanese children were to be taught Math and Science in English in order to improve their English as well as performance in both subjects.

I should hope that a Japanese Education Minister treating his country to such flawed reasoning would have the decency to commit harakiri.

Mother tongue is best

It is mother tongue instruction that’s most effective for children as countless studies have shown. Unesco endorses this formulation. The European Union similarly adopts a mother tongue education policy.

The majority of Malaysians speak Malay at home. Malay is more familiar to the Orang Asli and other indigenous peoples even if it is not their dialect, whereas English is alien. Our teachers’ language of competency is Malay. Our pupils are most conversant in Malay. (In vernacular schools, Chinese and Tamil.)

Is it so incomprehensible to urbanites that the majority of rural children don’t speak English at home? That the people around them don’t speak English? That even their older brothers and sisters who are college-age speak little or poor English?

The poor are unfamiliar with English, period. And education is the means of upward social mobility for the poor – their lifeline.

Furthermore, Math and Science teachers who are themselves deficient in English will not help improve their pupils’ language command. In fact, a likely scenario given the reality of Malaysia is that kids will pick up English grammar mistakes from Cikgu during Math and Science periods.

The most oft-cited argument in favour of PPSMI is that the bulk of reference material is in English.

But we’re talking about 7 year olds and 11 year olds. They don’t need to refer to advanced textbooks and academic papers which admittedly are in English. They’re not required to write a thesis using English jargon. Foundation level Math and Science deals with basic concepts that can be explained just as well in BM or vernacular.

Even at ages 13 to 15, schoolgoers don’t specialise in Math and Science. Not everybody aspires to be a scientist. Some kids when they grow up want to be a pet groomer or a landscape design consultant.

Not addressing the root cause

Three Japanese scientists shared the 2008 Nobel Prize for their work in subatomic physics. Two are nationals of Japan and the third an American citizen; the Japanese duo obtained their PhDs from Nagoya University while the Japanese-American from University of Tokyo. They learned their Math and Science in Japanese … I’m sure.

Let’s say that a science magazine discusses the field of their Nobel prize-winning research and uses descriptions like ‘particle accelerator/Large Hadron Collider’, ‘weak nuclear force’, ‘CP violation’ and ‘Higgs boson’.

Even though it’s generally true that in the international arena, scientific breakthroughs and cutting edge theories are articulated to the public at large through English, mastery of English doesn’t necessarily help a Form Five student comprehend the contributions of the Japanese trio.

Only by being very good in Physics will the 17-year-old Malaysian find the article illuminating. English is not a magic key to unlocking scientific aptitude. Making BM the scapegoat is grabbing hold of the wrong end of the stick.

The language of Math and Science is technical and precise. Following are the sort of sentences you would come across in a Chemistry lesson: “Fill test tube with ethanol” or “Immerse cotton wool ball in hydrochloric acid solution”. Biology and Physics are just as replete with glossary.

Not even those enamoured with English’s utility would claim that kids doing PPSMI are acquiring communication English useful in real life situations.

Emotional quotient (EQ) which reflects maturity is expressed through the richness of thought and nuances of language. The latter aspect (e.g. vocabulary, discursive skills) is better gleaned from the nature of the humanities subjects such as History, Literature, etc., and not from the terminology and formulae of Science and Math.

One way to lift academic standards in Math and Science is by fostering methodical and rational thinking, and promoting academic rigour.

The problem with Malaysians doesn’t lie with the language of delivery. It lies with the rigid, passive education system, the teachers’ dull, dispiriting approach and the by-rote exam structure (practise, practise, practise past year test papers, spot questions). These methods do not inculcate in children such traits that are the attributes of a scientific mindset.

What’s the real issue?

What is it that we really desire out of PPSMI? Impressive Math and Science scores in domestic exams do not automatically make Malaysia a great science and technology country.

In fact, the GMP (movement to abolish PPSMI) has alleged that in order to cover up the failure of the policy, the Education Ministry has resorted to lowering the passing mark in Math and Science to 30 percent and thus beefing up the pass rate.

Not only that, the revamped syllabus for Math and Science has been dumbed down to accommodate the stragglers. Consequently, the bright students are not stretched or challenged.

Well, Malaysia produced an SPM student who scored 21As and a clutch of others with almost as many distinctions. What’s the value of Malaysia-calibrated stratospheric achievements? It’s only jaguh kampung, akin to ‘Wira Angkasawan’ but ‘Malaysian space tourist’ to the rest of the world.

Even if we self-arbitrate that our Math and Science students are prodigies par excellence, does the country have the requisite technology base (except in the automotive industry thanks to Proton), flourishing R&D sector as well as incentives to absorb those future graduates who intend to do original research?

Registered patents are one indicator of technology advancement, i.e. which countries are inventing new things. In Japan, 27,230 patents were filed in 2007. In the corresponding year, Malaysia recorded 93 (see table).

For further comparison, Singapore: 443, USA: 52,969. Singapore places an emphasis on English medium education but it’s the intellectual climate in the States that makes Americans far more inventive than Singaporeans.

So looking mistily ahead, we might dream about creating a breed of Malaysian scientists and mathematicians taught in English. In the here-and-now, we’re losing hordes of children who don’t even have a passable grounding in Math and Science due to PPSMI. Yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran.

The law on this

Under the provisions of Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, Malay is the national language.

It is also the language for ‘official purpose’, i.e. “any purpose of the Government, whether Federal or State, and includes any purpose of a public authority”. Hence, English has no official purpose in schools.

The Education Act says that the national language shall be the main medium of instruction in all educational institutions except a national-type school, that is, except Chinese and Tamil schools.

Following are the UPSR subjects: Bahasa Malaysia Pemahaman (comprehension) & Penulisan (writing), Bahasa Inggeris, Kajian Tempatan, Matematik, Sains. The latter two taught in English, plus English itself as a language paper, add up to three subjects in English.

Apart from Islam and BM as language subject, there is only one other subject in Malay. In Chinese schools, Math and Science in English will sharply curtail the amount of time immersing in the mother tongue.

What then becomes of the Chinese character of national-type schools? Don’t forget that the Education Act allows for Chinese school; it does not permit the existence of English school.

These Chinese primary schools are feeders to the 60-plus independent Chinese high schools whose students take the UEC. This exam is recognised as the entrance qualification for universities in Taiwan, China, Singapore, Australia and some European countries. Math and Science in English will kill the UEC, and seal off alternative avenues to higher education if students are incompetent in Chinese language.

Also, the PPSMI format practically negates Malay as the medium of instruction gazetted in the Education Act while to all intents and purposes English has become the medium of instruction for the core subjects. This development turns the accepted notion of our cherished nationhood – which national language is the chief marker – on its head.

If the government still insists on continuing with PPSMI, it should amend the Constitution and change the law first.

So what’s my beef?

The sorts of accusation levelled against those opposed to PPSMI are ‘Malay ultra’, ‘language chauvinist’, ‘knowledge-shy’ or ‘anti-English’. These labels do not apply to me, and I was a Science student who sat Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Additional Mathematics in the SPM.

I’m against Math and Science in English because of the way it is being done. It hurts the majority of children. Pupils at national-type school ‘double’, wasting precious time on Math and Science in overlapping timetables both English and Chinese.

PPSMI is an ill-conceived policy ill-suited to Malaysia’s realpolitik conditions. Its implementation is helter-skelter. Bottomline: Simply not viable.

I see the issue in class terms: PPSMI benefits the ‘haves’ and disadvantages the ‘have-nots’. The smart ones get smarter, the ones already backward fall further behind. How else to view the RM3.2 billion worth ICT equipment purchased under the PPSMI project when some schools don’t have enough classrooms or even electricity?

With English, a small segment that might later pursue tertiary studies requiring Math and Science expertise will have an easier path. But English impedes a greater number of youngsters who find the language barrier hampering their fundamental understanding and interest in Math and Science.

The trade-off in cost is extracted from those with a poorer socio-economic background.

Their parents lack the resources for private tuition, not that there are tuition centres anyway in the rural and remote areas. Nor are these parents capable of giving home tutoring as they themselves are not well-educated. And in settlements and long houses, children do not have access to facilities, computers and laboratories.

The question, thus, is one of the greater good. With PPSMI, children whose parents are vocally pro-English will naturally do better. But PPSMI is at the expense of the majority losing out in Math and Science, in addition to their English not getting any better. Local studies have shown that PPSMI is damaging. (See box below).

If the worry is about English, then the upper middle-class and professional strata should improve their children’s English after school hours rather than inadvertently punish the majority of Malay and vernacular speakers. If the concern is about Math and Science, then privileged kids will just have to make an extra effort at matriculation and tertiary level.

Retrogressive to nationbuilding

Since 1982, all first degree courses have generally been taught in Malay at our public universities. For close to three decades, these tertiary institutions have been producing graduands who obtained their qualifications in Malay.

Under PSSMI, the burden is emphatically placed on young children, not on the late teens who may wish to specialise in Math and Science. Not only is this unfair and unconscionable, it makes no sense.

Finally, the standard of BM has risen in inverse correlation to the decline in the standard of English. Even the UPSR BM paper for 12 year olds is of a high degree of difficulty.

If we belong to the minority groups, we have to remember that we’re residing in the Malay archipelago. Our socio-political milieu is undeniably Malay. Unless we’re willing to alienate ourselves in ethnic enclaves, it’s untenable to continue living in Malaysia if we do not encourage our children to be adept in Malay or at the very least, keep up.

Malay culture steeped in the Malay language expresses the soul of our country. Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa.

GMP chairman, former director of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Dr Hassan Ahmad, sums up best: “What we know is that there is no race in the world that has shaped its culture and civilization, art, literature, philosophy of life, myth, worldview and corpus of knowledge through the language of another people”.

As Anak Bangsa Malaysia, we have no choice but to respect Article 152.

25 comments:

Faizah Roslaini said...

Dear En Amir,

I think it's a brilliant article. Thank you so much for sharing.

fadz said...

as i would say, "cayalah!!

Mukhtar said...

With due respect to the owner of the article, I disagree.

Firstly, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (TDMM) is not in the habit of waking up any day and impulsively change something so critical such as the education system. I am sure the writer will agree that TDMM has demonstrated repeatedly that his foresight are sometimes too far ahead for the simple Joe to understand until the time is right. That is what made Malaysia what she is today (or at least up to 6 years ago!).

Secondly, PPSMI was not intended to increase English proficiency in students to begin with! Any simpleton can tell you that you can't teach any language, may it be English, Bahasa or even Somali through applying it to other education syllabus. You teach English by teaching English! There's no way around that. Even native English speaking countries teach English as a subject in schools.

So why PPSMI? in my view, it is (or was) a brilliant idea to bridge the gap between Malaysian students and the sources of these two very critical disciplines. The painful truth is, there are not many quality resources for these two subjects in Bahasa. The higher the education level, the more scarce they become. So what happened and will continue to happen apparently after PPSMI cancellation is, students will face a rough and unproductive shock once they leave the comfort of the Bahasa-ready-textbook-school-world to the vast and dynamic higher education world. That is why PPSMI was implemented, to help students familiarise themselves with the language they will find themselves struggling to grasp in the two very challenging academic subjects.

And please don't blame PPSMI on some poor kids not making the grades in Math and Science. They would have eventually flunked anyway! It's just fact of life, some have the brain for it, some don't. It's not the language.

Amir Muhammad said...

Dear Mukhtar:

Please refer to points 8-10 in the essay above ;-)

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. English is a strong element for our country to move forward into our rapidly advancing world, in which we, in 3 years, will unfortunately be left behind.

That's just too sad.

Amir Muhammad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amir Muhammad said...

So you, unlike Mukhtar, think the aim was to strengthen English? Curiouser and curiouser...

Tawel Sensei said...

@Anonymous, please give me any empirical evidence that shows "English is a strong element for our country to move forward into our rapidly advancing world".

In the UK, study shows that Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic are languages of the future. It's not English, mind you!

So, should the education system there teach Maths and Science to the students in that foreign languages?

Amir Muhammad said...

Thanks for the great link!

It is now on my Facebook :-)

Daddy Parenting Tips 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.

http://daddyparentingtips.blogspot.com/2009/07/tip-161-reading-in-both-languages.html

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?

truth said...

Mandarin schools should be shut down. That is the only we can achieve indonesia like unity. There the Chinese dont consider themselves Chinese anymore.

Mandarin will only give advantage to the Chinese to the detriment of Malay language and culture.

Dont forget that the Malays were against giving citizenship to the chinese tin miners or indians labourers beczuse they are a danger to the Malay motherland.

But were forced by the British and were fortunate to include the special rights in the constitution or we would be like the Fijians where Indians ruled the economy and the native polyesians suffering due to their un materialsitic culture.

Is this fair to the Chinese labourers? Up to them. They can always go back to China. As our beloved Tunku said, the Chinese can go back to China, the Indians to India but the Malays will defend Tanah Melayu with their lives against communist
Chinese.

Does this make Chinese second class citizen? not economically. They could integrate with the Malays as th nyonya and Baba but the Dong Ziong Chinese racist club are against it and want to go against Malay culturalisaiton.

Mahathir merupakan neo colonialist. dan generasi Mahathir tidak boleh lari dari kesan psikologi.

Sama seperti negro yang menjadi hamba di US mereka mahu diterima oleh bangsa penjajah dengan menggunakan bahasa penjajah.

Tidak ada sebab guna bahasa Inggeris untuk kira2. Ini semua otak orang anglophile.

Orang melayu cerdik dan pandai. kita boleh bina ilmu sendri macam orang indonesia.

Dunia mengharap kepada melayu untuk memajukan rumpun melayu.

Mahathir tidak sayang bahasa melayu. Mahathir mengkayakan cina Kuok 70 billion, ananda 40 billion, lim goh tong 20 billio dan lain. YTL, Vincent tokeh judi kawan baik dia dan keling Lingam peguam Mahahtir.
Melayu dia?

Haprak.. hanya untuk mengkayakan anak dia mohkazni melayu terkaya.

Dia hanya nak perkuda melayu supaya dia nampak pandai di mata mat salleh.

Melayu mengharap kepada mahathir selepas 13 Mei tapi dia hanya nak senangkan keluarga dia dan tunjuk pandai diri dia. Orang Melayu halau dia kerana lupa daratan selepas 22 tahun tak nak berhenti dan tidak ada agihan kekayaan yang adil di bumi Melayu.

Bagi UMNO itulah perlembagaannya untuk memertabatkan bahasa dan bangsa Melayu. Sesiapa yang tak setuju dengan perlembagaan UMNO boleh lah buat parti sendiri, parti Negara ke haha.

Sekarang nak jual idea dah terlambat. What has Mahathir done for the Malays? Dont forget the Malays drove Mahathir out of UMNO precisely for his PPMSI!

Anonymous said...

Growing up in a small town in Kelantan, my medium of instruction was Bahasa Malaysia, as was it for most Malaysians in the past 40 odd years(?). Yet, like most of us reading this blog, and those who are FOR ppsmi, we are english speaking. Some are better at the languange than the native speakers. Clearly we haven't suffered from learning our Math and Science in BM. I don't think either will our children. What's more indicative of mastery of the languange (and therefore later being able to absorb all the science/math reference books) is the family environment. My parents were English speakers, so am I, and so are my children. Yes, it is easier for US if PPSMI is continued, but at what cost? I think we should give the rural kids a break, and learn to cope. We are much more capable (with the resources that we have) at learning bahasa/chinese/tamil than they are at learning English.

The bigger issue for me, is to have teachers that care, and inspire [impossibility?), and to have a system that rewards through means other than exams. That, I believe is CRUCIAL for our children. Not language.

MM

Anonymous said...

Is the headline of your article deliberately misleading, or a mistake? PPSMI is teaching science and math in English, not in Malay.

Nizam said...

E=MC2....Pertama sekali saya bukannya seorang yang fasih berbahasa Inggeris. Saya di besarkan oleh ibu bapa yang seratus peratus sentiasa berbahasa melayu. Bapa saya seorang yang rajin membaca, baik artikel yang berbahasa Malaysia mahupun artikel yang berbahasa Inggeris. Jadi saya tak nampak masaalah nya untuk kita menguasai ilmu-ilmu teknologi jika kita berbahasa Malaysia. Walau pun bapa saya tidak fasih berbahasa Inggeris dia mampu menerangkan kepada saya persamaan yang tertulis diatas (E=MC2). Umum di ketahui sains dan matematik adalah bahasa yang difahami oleh semua makhluk tuhan di atas muka bumi ini. NASA sendiri menghantar mesej ke angkasa menggunakan bahasa matematik dan sains. Jadi tidak timbul masaalah bahasa untuk mempelajari dua cabang teknologi yaitu sains dan matematik. Saya bekerja sebagai seorang jurutera R&D, saya tidak fasih berbahasa inggeris tapi saya mampu memahami segala artikel berkenaan kejuruteraan yang rata-rata ditulis dalam bahasa inggeris. Yang pelik nya saya bukannya generasi PPSMI. Setakat ini saya banyak mencipta perisian dan perkakasan elektronik dimana semuanya MADE IN MALAYSIA tanpa perlu fasih berbahasa Inggeris. Sistem Amaran Banjir untuk JPS Selangor adalah salah satu rekacipta saya. Yang penting nya adalah cara kita memahami sesuatu perkara itu. Biasanya orang teknikal dapat memahami sesuatu perkara itu walaupun dalam bahasa inggeris disebabkan artikel teknikal biasanya mudah difahami walaupun dalam bahasa inggeris disebabkan ia adalah 'straight to the point'. Adakah dengan fasih berbahasa inggeris kita dapat memahami persamaan E=MC2 ataupun teori kerelatifan khas/am?. Volume 17 artikel berkenaan teori kerelatifan khas karangan Einstein sendiri pun ditulis dalam bahasa Jerman. Saya yang tidak fasih berbahasa inggeris pun dapat menerang kan teori berkenaan dengan sempurna. Yang pentingnya kerajaan kena memainkan peranan melakukan penterjemahan artikel-artikel saintifik ke bahasa Malaysia untuk memajukan sektor pembangunan dan penyelidikan bukannya menukar semua subjek pembelajaran sains dan matematik kedalam bahasa Inggeris. Saya rasa sepandai pandai DrM pun ada kekurangan otak nya juga. Cuba belajar memahami sesuatu itu dengan bahasa matematik dan fizik maka anda akan menguasai teknologi. Hukum fizik adalah sama disemua tempat di atas muka bumi ini mahupun di cakerawala dan semua makhluk boleh memahami nya walaupun tidak fasih berbahasa Inggeris

Anonymous said...

Mat rempit will always be a mat rempit...with or without the English.

Zed Adam said...

It's obvious that those who "get" English are opposing PPSMI and those who don't, are supporting it. I get it and I'm against the policy.

It's all about ideas, people. To really stay ahead in the "competitive international global arena world class status", all we need to produce are good ideas. Even if we speak all the languages in the world, but if we lack brilliant ideas of any kind that would propel us forward, we still won't be going anywhere. It's that simple and some still don't get it.

bibliobibuli said...

very good indeed and best thing i've read on the topic. wonder why it is though that none of the carefully reasoned argument emanates from either government sources or the "nationalists"? there's a lot of knee-jerk reaction, not enough detailed and reasoned discussion by the decision makers in public forums.

the real issue is - English is important and teaching it through content makes it more useful and meaningful. maths and science may not have been the right subject choices (although in my opinion could and should have been perfectly workable).

but the English syllabus now needs to be carefully rethought and project work would be a useful way of introducing the language content of subject areas.

wuiChuan said...

"Orang melayu cerdik dan pandai. Kita boleh bina ilmu sendri macam orang Indonesia." (If we follow the Indonesians' way, we will be labourers for every country.)

We should not even talk about closing down this school or that school as we are not trying to provoke another May 13th in Malaysian history.

Not now, when?
Everything has to start somewhere, sooner or later. Why do think that this will 'burden' our children? Why are we pampering them so much? Let them be independent. Let them suffer in the beginning. If we keep on pampering them they will never learn and will never grow. Do you think it is easier to command a new language when you are a teenager? Most teenagers will refuse and reject it.

Main / Secondary Language.
Having English as a compulsory language doesn't mean that English will be a threat to the National Language. English here is a tool for us to communicate globally. How many countries functionally uses the Malay Language?

Unemployment
Look at the standard of English for all local fresh graduates. It is awful enough until they failed every single interview in any MNCs.

English Teacher
Years of spending in learning and how to teach and what to teach in universities and/or colleges but still English teachers nowadays don't even know how to teach proper English. Even themselves reject teaching in English.

Pro Malay Language
If you are so pro towards Malay Language, then you should write in formal Malay Language. This will show that you are patriotic towards this country and to show that you have a good command of the Malay Language because you've learnt it all these years. Don't use borrowed words like generasi, transformasi, revolusi, evolusi etc.

Nonetheless, it is true that the Government need to re-look into the syllabus and do what is proper to enhance / improve the standard of English in Malaysia.

RuNNi said...

that was an mind opening reading session for me.

i totally agree and also still disagree...

i totally agree that PPSMI is applied wrongly, they should've thought the plan thoroughly before doing a lab rat test on us(cos i'm a student too....)

but disagree on how people say: learning english would put our mother tongue to the sidelines. because, most students view 'bahasa' not as a bahasa but as an exam paper. so pushing english doesn't really effect anybody's mind set...

All and all, i think the government should be thinking more on how to improve the education ATTITUDE, before changing anthing else.

Anonymous said...

sy jga bknlh seorang yg fasih berbhsa inggeris. sekrg sy sedang brusah mempelajari bhasa inggeris..sy ykin bhsa inggeris amt penting skrg. sy seorg melyu dan sy sygkn bhasa dan bangsa sy. disbbkn sygkn bhsa dan bangsa sy, sy berusaha mendalami bhsa inggeris, malh bhasa2 lain. sy tidk membnth usaha untk memmartbtkan bhsa melyu malh gembira. Namun bagi sy, langkh pertma yg harus kta sdr ialh kebykn ilmu2 sekarang dlm bhasa inggeris. jdi menguasai bhsa ingeris itu pnting supya kita dapt menguasai ilmu2 tersebut. Sama juga seprti sejahrh islm dalhu. Zaman kgmilngan krajaan bani umaiyyah dah abbsyiah. Sewaktu negara islam terknal dgn ilmu pengtahuan. Semua cendkiawan dari seluruh dunia behijrh ke sana dan mendalami bhsa arab, mengadakan aktivti penterjmahan untuk mendalmi ilmu islm dan akhirnya mereka dapt menguasi ilmu tersebt. Jdi sy andaikn situasi tersebut sebgaimana sekarang. Kita perlu menguasai bahsa inggeris untuk mencerap masuk segala ilmu. Kita tiada masa yg pnjag untuk menghbiskn masa menterjmhkan keselurhan ilmu2 dalm bhsa inggeris itu ke dllm bhsa melyu, kta masih juga perlu meguasai untuk mempercptkn proses ini. Sy msh lg peljr dn say ska sekali ingin berkongdi bhwa pembeljran sains dan matematik dlm bhsa inggeris byk membntu sy. sy mempunyai rakn sekls yg tidk sempt mempeljri sains dan matematik dlm bhsa inggeris, dan die mengalami byk masalh untk memahi bembeljrn. ttp sy kgum kerana dia brusah untuk mendalami bhsa inggeris dn dia prnh menyatkn kepda sy btpa beruntungnya sy dapt mempelajari sains dan matematik dalam bahsa inggeris.

Tawel Sensei said...

@Anonymous di atas, rasanya salah satu cara kita menunjukkan rasa cinta kepada apa jua bahasa, adalah mengejanya dengan baik, bukan?

(Saya pening kepala baca apa yang anda tulis)

karen said...

Saya bersetuju 100% dengan Tawel Sensei! Saya berhenti membaca pandangannya selepas ayat kedua.

Saleem said...

Saya berpendapat kita harus meluluskan Akta untuk menjadikannya suatu jenayah bila seseorang menulis komen di internet menggunakan 'bahasa text'. Ia menunjukkan kemalasan yang amat sangat dan menyebabkan apa yang cuba disampaikan menjadi tak bermakna. Ianya juga amat menyakitkan hati dan menjelekan.

Amir Muhammad said...

Mcmla Mesia ni X cukup akta2 bang Saleem oi.

;-)

Puanchan said...

nak pandai english bukan melalui sains dan metamatik, tetapi pertingkatkan pelajaran bahasa inggeris, lagipun sekarang budak2 dah pandai bahasa inggeris melalui facebook.

saya juga amat jelik dgn komen menggunakan bahasa text. tak faham langsung....