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Issues: 6113

Group 7 argued for an issue in their December 23rd presentation: That English should remain the medium of instruction for Science & Mathematics in Malaysian schools instead of Bahasa Melayu as mandated. What is your view on this? Justify your position with informed arguments.

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1. Anita a/p V. Sivanesan ( PGP110010) - December 24, 2011

I strongly believe that Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. That is why my group chose this topic to be presented in our SLA class. Learning Maths and Science in English, not only enhances the students proficiency in English, but also is a great wealth to them when they further their studies in tertiary levels or abroad. I personally witnessed how students communicative skills in English improved when the policy of teaching Maths and Science in English was first impemented. Before the policy was implemented, i.e. before 2003, students lacked confidence in their L2 speaking skills. They could understand the L2 but found it difficult to use the language in context. But after the implementation of the policy, pupils as young as 10 year olds, were able to fluently use the language. They were not afraid to even speak to their teachers in English. Hence by learning Maths and Science in English, students not only gained confidence in their communicative skills in English, but also showed great improvement in their L2 acquisition.

PUSHPA A/P KANDASAMY - December 30, 2011

You’re right Anitha. In fact my students could score better grades in writing as they could use the vocabulary aptly. Not to say that we English teachers are not doing our job well, but actually it is an enhancement for the students to master both, language as well as terminologies!

2. Princess Lina - December 24, 2011

I strongly believe that Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. Its indeed for the sake for the children and their future. The use of English to teach these subjects will improve the English language proficiency of the children in schools. Probably in the beginning it will be tough since learning English as a subject itself is difficult for many students but eventually they will love the subject. This is certainly a good opportunity for all the students as when they enter the higher education level and then into the working environment, they need to use English to communicate. This will certainly be beneficial for them.

3. PREMALATHA P.CHELLADORAI - December 25, 2011

My point of view whether Science and Mathematics should be taught in English or Malay is, I strongly feel that it is an advantage if it is taught in English. It is the language used globally. Moreover subjects in higher learning institutions are mostly conducted in English. Interviews for job opportunities are in English. Even a lay man such as taxi driver or even sales personnel need to know the language as we have tourists around us at all time. I do agree that English lessons are sufficient to learn the language but extra knowledge learnt during Maths and Science lessons would enhance it better.
Furthermore, the current PMR results has proved that these students are the best batch to obtain good grades in four years with the percentage of straight A scorers increase by 0.75% from 7.02% in 2010 to 7.77% this year. And we should truly be proud of them as they are the first batch to learn Mathematics and Science in English since standard one. So I do feel that by learning these subjects in English, this would definitely benefit these children in the future.

4. SHARILA CHRISTIE - December 25, 2011

Sharila Christie (PGP 110003)

I strongly agree that English should remain as the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics in Malaysian schools because this policy has many advantages. One of the main advantages is that English language is an international language and being use globally. Secondly, most of the study materials like reference books and Internet sources for Science and Mathematics are available in English. Thirdly, this policy is helping the students to enhance their learning ability, knowledge and skills to understand Science and Mathematics better. Furthermore, this policy also fully prepares the students to vast experience of the English-speaking world of Science and Mathematics when they further their studies in tertiary level or abroad. English is being the premier language of technology, commerce, scholarships and diplomacy. In addition, when the students learn Science and Maths in English in a way they are mastering the English Language and this will equip them with an added edge on the job market when they have completed their studies. In conclusion, with English being the universal language of knowledge in Science and Maths and by remaining this policy will make Malaysia capable of producing students adept at these fields whose talents and abilities will be crucial in helping to transform Malaysia into a developed nation.

5. Rimla Changi (@rimlachangi) - December 25, 2011

As i’m not a Malaysian, i’m not aware of how this has affected or is affecting my other classmates. But in my opinion, since every other subject is in Malay, these subjects should be in English. Having said that, I feel that not just Maths and Science but other subjects such as History and Geography should also be improved and changed to English.

I find that the students of Malaysia lack good General Knowledge in Geography and English. A 20 year old student of mine said that KLCC was the capital city of Malaysia. Another said that Singapore was a part of Malaysia. Whether they didn’t understand my question or don’t know, point remains that the English proficiency of a lot of Malaysian students are below average and Maths and Science is just another way in getting them to improve it. Not only that, keeping Maths and Science in English will also enhance their prospects of going abroad and studying. Most students aim to go into the Science stream in Malaysia. This could prepare them to do so and buffer them for their higher education.

English is also an international language. These youngsters will grow up to lead this land. To compete in an international level, they will need to be proficient in English. They will need to recognize symbols and correct mathematical and scientific words. By changing Maths and Science into Malay, I feel that the educational department will be closing avenues for future generations. A definite no, such a step should not be taken for the sake of the future. Malaysians will be at a disadvantage in the global world.

6. Cassandra Jothi Krishnan - December 25, 2011

Cassandra Jothi Krishnan – PGP110022

I strongly believe that Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. This is because English is the language of knowledge. Most of the reading materials be it academic or non academic are written and published in English. Take for example, the terminologies used for both Mathematics and Science are originated from the English language. If students were to learn Mathematics and Science in English, it would be much easier for them to do research for projects and assignments especially when they have to surf the internet for information.

Many would argue that countries like Japan, Korea or China could teach Mathematics and Science in their national language. Little do they know that these countries are so much forwarded in the aspects of learning culture, technology and even civilization than any other society from the globe without using English. Besides, the Malay language is insufficiently mature to handle all the technical terms used today in the scientific world.

Therefore, teaching Mathematics and Science in English should be implemented and taught in school as it is going to be a huge successful outcome to students in Malaysian schools to excel in their studies and perhaps could be on par with other international students.

7. Afsa Ghani - December 26, 2011

SITI AFSA BT. ABD GHANI (PGP110019)

In regard of the hot debated issue which is ‘PPSMI’, I personally feel that the medium of language for both of the subject should be determined by the school itself. Every school should be given the power to decide the medium of language based on the votes from parents.
Implementing both subjects in English would definitely hinder the performance of students, in particularly students’ from rural area, as English language is rarely spoken at home and they may face difficulties learning the subjects in that medium. The same effect will occur if Bahasa Malaysia is made as the medium in urban schools, as urban students’ are more comfortable conversing in English and some of them may not even speak Bahasa outside classroom. As an example, all of my cousins from urban area attended Bahasa tuition classes instead of English language classes as they feel the inadequacy of their Bahasa proficiency level.
I strongly believe that the fundamental aspect of learning science and mathematics’ is for the students to be able to grasp the concepts, not the medium of language. The most important thing is that the students’ really understand the concepts, regardless of the language medium. Thus, I really feel that the school authorities should be given the ultimatum power to decide the medium of language that the students’ are more comfortable with. The only pitfall of this idea is that the government has to prepare dual language textbooks and test papers. I think the burden of making dual language textbooks and test papers is minimal compared to the never ending battle of argumentations.

8. siti afsa bt. abd ghani (PGP110019) - December 26, 2011

In regard of the hot debated issue which is ‘PPSMI’, I personally feel that the medium of language for both of the subject should be determined by the school itself. Every school should be given the power to decide the medium of language based on the votes from parents.
Implementing both subjects in English would definitely hinder the performance of students, in particularly students’ from rural area, as English language is rarely spoken at home and they may face difficulties learning the subjects in that medium. The same effect will occur if Bahasa Malaysia is made as the medium in urban schools, as urban students’ are more comfortable conversing in English and some of them may not even speak Bahasa outside classroom. As an example, all of my cousins from urban area attended Bahasa tuition classes instead of English language classes as they feel the inadequacy of their Bahasa proficiency level.
I strongly believe that the fundamental aspect of learning science and mathematics’ is for the students to be able to grasp the concepts, not the medium of language. The most important thing is that the students’ really understand the concepts, regardless of the language medium. Thus, I really feel that the school authorities should be given the ultimatum power to decide the medium of language that the students’ are more comfortable with. The only pitfall of this idea is that the government has to prepare dual language textbooks and test papers. I think the burden of making dual language textbooks and test papers is minimal compared to the never ending battle of argumentations.

Rimla Changi (@rimlachangi) - December 26, 2011

To Siti,
I agree that schools should decide in choosing whether to use English or Malay to teach Maths and Science but I feel doing that we are not really teaching students to use their brains but just spoon feeding them.

True rural students will be at a disadvantage if the subjects are taught in English but then again, rural students are the ones who need this the most. They will be coming to urban areas for their tertiary education and will have a harder time competing with their urban counterparts. Also, English language isn’t just about writing, reading, listening and conversing; but about using the language in all forms in everyday life. Why can’t students use English to understand a multiplication question the same way they use it to understand a question from a reading comprehension? Also, who says that science and maths can’t be used to teach English language?

What I feel is that Maths is a subject that should be taught in English from the time they are in Kindergarten. Science can follow later on. In this way, those who do not practice the English language that often will get the chance to do so in another subject rather than just in English classes.

siti afsa bt. abd ghani (PGP110019) - December 27, 2011

Thank you Rimla for your view : )
Yup, I do agree that Maths and Science should be taught in English from the time they are kindergarten, but in rural areas, the medium of language for kindergarten is mostly in Bahasa, especially kindergarten funded by the government. So when the students’ started their Year one, they already face difficulties in English subject as they do not have a strong foundation in English. To make things worse, the terminologies of mathematics and science in English complicate them more. Thus, they face with not one, but two problems.
It is true indeed that English is not just about the four skills, writing, reading, speaking and listening, but the language as a whole which include for communication purposes, and yes, we can use English for basic mathematics such as multiplication tables, but they will definitely going to face difficulties as the subject gets harder and more in depth. They would definitely feel a bit tad difficult to understand the concepts.
Yet again, I am not against the implementation of science and mathematics in English. I am just implying that the parents and school authorities should have the power to decide the medium of language that they want to use, either English or Bahasa. I really felt that both of these subjects (math& and science) are mainly about engaging students’ on the concepts of mathematics and science per se. It doesn’t matter if it is in Bahasa or English, the main primary aim for teachers is for students’ to be able to understand the concepts. But, I do agree with you that if the government want to implement the English medium, they should start it early, since kindergarten,not in Year one.

PUSHPA A/P KANDASAMY - December 30, 2011

Dear friends,
I believe that it would be a better idea for us to have schools with different mediums rather than letting the school to make a choice. If at all, we were to have such policies whereby parents and children are given the full authority to choose the school according to the medium that they prefer, then absolutely the teaching of Science and Mathematics will not be an issue anymore. Everbody will be satiesfied as they are given the choice to choose rather than we detremine for them. At least we could do the comparison in terms of the achievement of the students learnt from the two different mediums in order to come to a conclusion…..

9. Safiatun Baharom(PGP 110009) - December 26, 2011

I strongly feel that the teaching of Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. I think the government was too fast in their actions to scrape it off. It is a sad thing if the reason for the move was that the government couldn’t cope with the pressure by certain group of people. I think the policy (PPSMI/ ETeMs) is excellent and visionary. I feel that children can learn anything that is taught to them. If teachers are the problem, the government can focus on improving that. It would be sad and unfortunate to abolish such excellent policy for that reason, I think. And it’s also ridiculous to claim that learning English can threaten the Malay language. There are many other things that the conservative has to worry about rather than the issue on teaching of Maths and science in English. Teaching these subjects in English does not diminish the status of Bahasa Malaysia. I think it would not make any student less Malay, Chinese or Indians anyway if they are proficient in English. In fact, they would be able to go far if they are competent in English.
This year’s PMR result has proven that PPSMI is working on the students. The analysis of the PMR results also found students scored better in English, Mathematics and Science subjects. I think the fruits of labour is rewarding if the policy is to stay on. I believe with the policy students will be good in the language and enables them to communicate effectively in future. Sometimes, it is so sad when I come across people who are unable to speak properly in the simplest English and was unable to put across ideas even though I know these young people are bright, however handicapped by the lack of the skills.
Now it seems Deputy Prime Minister said that students who have started learning Maths and Science will continue to do so until they complete their form fives. And it seems that schools would have the option to teach these two subjects fully in English, Bahasa Malaysia or bilingual. Actually, it is torturing for our students with all the changes again and again. And it is confusing the teachers as well. But with this move, I think the government has realized that PPSMI should best be continued. So the new policy will take a soft landing to schools soon.

PUSHPA A/P KANDASAMY - December 30, 2011

Hi Safi,

I totally agree with your viewpoints. The teaching of Science and Mathematics will not diminish the Malay language. Not to say that we tend to be biased but actually that is the reality. I don’t think government will come out with policies which will have a negative impact on teaching and learning! By right, we all should put our hands together to talk on behalf of our next generation who is going to be the backbone of our country. Surely, we don’t want people who couldn’t be able to communicate with the world especially in this globalisation era!

10. Wan Mohd Noraiman (PGP110005) - December 27, 2011

PPSMI
Should it be in Bahasa Melayu or English? This issue as we all know had triggered many debate and interest. And this issue also used by certain group as a political weapon in winning peoples heart. Here am trying to discuss on this issues from the point of view of an educator and not from the point of view of parents, students or politician. As an English teacher, I am agreeing that PPSMI should be in English. Why? As a teacher I know how important English language is. To success I do believed students should or must empower the language. And in order to master the language students should used the language in every aspect of their learning process. What I mean here is they should learn English not only in English classroom but also in other classroom. When we able to create the environment where English language is a must, only then the students will able to master the language. Besides that, from my conversation with Math and Science teachers, most of them did admit that it is easier to teach both subjects in English. However the setback is the teachers and the students’ proficiency in English. Most of the teacher had been teaching Math and Science for almost 10 years and during this period they used Bahasa Melayu as the medium in their teaching. When the change carried out without a proper preparation especially without proper training for the teacher then it become a problem. Students low proficiency in English especially students in rural area is another problem voiced out by this teachers. However, we should not forget the fact that most of the terms used in Math and Science are in English so it much easier to teach in English.

11. PUSHPA A/P KANDASAMY - December 27, 2011

Action and Reaction!

English Vs Bahasa Melayu to teach Science and Mathematics – was a hot issue being debated during the presentation of the 7th group!

I am really sad to say that nothing is permanent as in the case of Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English was a policy planned and implemented by the government; instead of having a continuous open- armed welcome, turned out to be given a soft-landing!!!!!! Come on, lets’ think rationally! How could one say that the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English could ‘jeopardize’ the position of Bahasa Melayu; in other words the use of Bahasa Melayu is being affected! Neglected!

For those who have been thinking and having misconception of the programme, try to reflect as after all in a situation in which out of 10 subjects learnt for instance, only two subjects (Science and Mathematics) are being taught in English apart from English language by itself whereby the rest of the subjects are still taught and learnt in Bahasa Melayu. As from the mathematical point of view, 7>3, definitely 7 wins! Vividly could be viewed that the chances to use and learn in Bahasa Melayu still out beat the English language! So why should the worries arise? Sadly, many arguments have been going on without realising that the implementation is not to neglect Bahasa Melayu but actually to enhance English in terms of the use of the terminologies of Science and Mathematics for a global expectation.

However, the mindset of the people in general with a wrong concept and belief turned out to be that the implementation of Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English would slowly draw a path that the English language is given much emphasis rather than Bahasa Melayu. This belief had gone out of the actual track and from its real aim which was to enhance the students’ Science and Mathematics knowledge via English as most of the reference materials are in English. This intention will help the students to gain knowledge and learn better which will be very authentic and handy in their future undertakings.

In addition, this situation will help the students to master English with a better acquisition of the second language undeniably. Isn’t it a great advantage for our students! In point of fact, miracle doesn’t happen in a twinkling of an eye. It is a process that every policy has to go through in proving its effectiveness. In the case of Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, a clear picture that I could personally visualise based on my teaching experience is that my students who underwent this programme could be able to write process based English essays related to the Science subject very well with the correct vocabulary usage. Obviously, the reason was that the students had integrated the skills of English writing with the Science knowledge learnt in English.What could be done? There was a move in achieving the aim of the policy but miserably and unexpectedly it was rewarded with a soft-landing. I would rather claim that the opponents of this programme failed to realise that a big jump will only occur when a small move takes place!

Actually, one should be very proud to say that the languages exist in this world have equal importance in their own way. As in this case, the thought of Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English will make English to be more important than Bahasa Melayu is something that I would say irrational. Why can’t we change our mind set that Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English will create a ‘win-win situation’ for both the subjects! Since Bahasa Melayu and English should be known to be siblings as they are language based subjects, the circumstance will only lead to supporting one another and not to kill or backstab each other!

What a pity! The greatest ‘victims’ that I personally feel and experience from the shoes of the pilots involved which majority of us overlooked was that the students who undergo the process of learning under this policy! They have become the ball being rolled from one angle to another as our wish! I personally sense that views from the grass-roots such as the students who become the core party for a policy should be taken into account seriously as they are the product of a process. If the process keeps on changing, then try to imagine of the quality of the product that would be produced or moulded!

To put it in a nutshell, I strongly believe in striking while the iron is hot but once we have missed ‘something’, then we are going to miss that ‘something’ forever! Undeniably! We are now in the midst of missing and loosing the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English with a soft-landing process, but surely we have created a path to miss this implementation sooner or later completely! What to do! If one thinks and believes that it is not too late to cry over spilt milk, then let’s make a stand and go for it!

12. Nabila Anwar - December 28, 2011

The teaching of mathematics and science in English (PPSMI) had raised the public with ongoing debates ever since it was implemented in 2002.Some were still skeptical with the sudden change of policy about the effectiveness of this sudden change of policy in education citing the reasons such as poor command of English among teachers in teaching these two subjects as well as the lack of interest shown by the students to learn in English.

In my personal opinion PPSMI is a good and reasonable policy. Therefore I thoroughly support this implementation of PPSMI. Since we are now living in a modernized world therefore English language is essential. Nowadays in tertiary level education English language is the major language in any courses therefore through PPSMI it would prepare the students for their tertiary education. Since they were exposed to the teaching of mathematics and science at a very young age although they might find it very hard to digest the subject in a different language but in the end they will find it useful once they set foot to the tertiary level.

After all the rational of the change for the teaching medium to change from the Malay Language to the English Language for teaching Science and Mathematics are because of the government’s concern towards the manpower source development to achieve the developed country status and also as a preparation from the early stages of school to be able to compete in the era of globalization. It is generally known that Science and Mathematics are fields that has become the foundation and has important purposes in a country’s development. Various innovation and new discoveries in these fields happened quickly and most of this information about its expansions is in the English Language medium. English Language is now the international communicating language and mastering this language helps in knowledge attainment in this field.

The change from the National Language to the English Language as communication medium in the education policy has caused confusion and defiance especially among the educationist, politicians and even nationalist because they believe that the abrupt change will result into the country to move backwards rather than forward considering how hard the nation seems to adapt with the new policy. They think that the change of this educational policy would contradict the Federation Constitution: The Malay Language as the National Language.

Although there had been many oppositions towards this policy by stating that this policy would contradict the Federation Constitution: the Malay Language as the National Language however, high court judge Mohd Zawawi Salleh, ruled on May 7 that the two circulars on the execution of the previous policy to teach Mathematics and Science in English did not contradict the Article 152 of the Federal Constitution. After all we can’t control other people’s views and perspective but think on the bright side, there had been several improvements in students academic therefore it shows that the implementation of PPSMI had started to show the effectiveness. In changing policy we can’t expect to see the results clearly in a short notice, these things needed time to see the outcome of it.

Therefore since the decision of this policy is to ensure better mastery of Mathematics and Science within students since most of the sources is in English. Indirectly, the implementation of PPSMI is also to improve the command of English Language within the students. Therefore, it is my belief that the PPSMI policy is an excellent way to help Malaysia be a more developed and well known country in the near future.

13. LEE HUAN YIK (PGP 110012) - December 28, 2011

In Malaysia, it is the ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy enforced in all Malaysian public schools from Year 1 in 2003 that seems to be the root of the problem. (Yoong Suan as cited in MacKinnon, 2008). This is because certain schools in Malaysia generally accept and implement the policy better than others, thus it may be unfair for the government to scrap its policy in all national public schools in 2011. Pillay (2003) highlights the points that in some ways, urban schools are in a better position to implement the policy because its resources in terms of personnel and finance are probably better. He also believes that there is greater likelihood of finding more teachers competent in English in urban schools than in rural schools. Based on my experience in school as a learner and now, a teacher, I feel that rural students will usually be marginalised in terms of education as compared to their urban counterparts, no matter what language is used as the crux of the problem lies in minimal access to libraries and skilled teachers in rural areas. Hence, the soft-landing approach now is probably the best way forward at least for the time-being.

With various parties championing their mother tongue rights and campaigning vociferously that the PPSMI policy may soon degrade and threaten their L1, it is only predictable that the government has to succumb to pressure from these groups and their respective agenda by abolishing MSE policy in primary schools from 2012. Since the major government parties and those in opposition are united in their stance that mathematics and science should be taught in the mother tongues of students, the Government apparently has no choice but to give that back to them, irrespective of whether it may harm the students and the country in the long term.

Based on research findings, the implementation of the PPSMI policy is not happening the way we have envisaged as only eight percent of teachers are truly confident in teaching the two subjects in English language. In my opinion, if the teachers and educators are serious about bringing the nation forward for the betterment of the students, then PPSMI policy should be the way forward.

Pillay, H. (2003) Winds of change: Teaching Science and Mathematics in English- A perspective from the school. IPBA E-journal, 1-5

Mackinnan, I. (2008) Article on teaching Mathematics and Science in English: Immersion is a difficult lesson. [online] Assessed http://www.melta.org.my/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=DESC&topic_id=897&forum=8 on 22 December, 2011.

khayaetiry - January 2, 2012

I really agree with what patrick has writen here and the quote that was cited, Pillai(2003).

14. M Komathi - December 28, 2011

M Komathi a/p Marappan (PGP110017)

A believe that English as the medium of instruction for the teaching of Science and Mathematics would be more beneficial for the pupils. This is because it broadens the use of English Language. it increases the exposure of this target language which would be an added advantage especially for the pupils in rural areas, who do not have the opportunity to use the language outside the ESL classroom. However, this view of mine could be biased, as I am an English teacher.

Apart from that, as teachers, we often encourage our pupils to gather/find information on their own, in facilitating their own knowledge-construction. With the use of Bahasa Melayu, pupils will have limited access to the learning tools that are available, especially online. If the pupils are taught Science and Mathematics subjects in English, they may be able to access and understand so much more materials that are available in the related fields. This is because English is an important international language in which many books are published.

Furthermore, as English in an international language, learning Science and Mathematics in English Language will contribute positively in the long run for the pupils. Mastering the content is the most important, yes. However, language is the bridge that is used to convey the content. Mastering the content in English itself will help to produce more confident and competent Malaysian Scientists and Mathematicians in the future.

15. Gwendolyn Gail Yong - December 28, 2011

As many have said, I too agree that Mathematics and Science should remain taught in English. Since this has been implemented for a decade, why change it back? The MOE has spent hundred thousands just to prepare learning materials such as text books and work books for the schools. Won’t the MOE spend another whole lot of money to convert the books into BM again? I believe that much of money can be used for something more useful.

Also, since the implementation of Mathematics and Science in English, more students are able to converse in English because they not only have to use English language in English classes but also in these two other subjects. This would actually increase the use of the language outside of school hours as well.

If we were to compare the three generations before independence, after independence and the 21st Century, it is clear that people who went to school before independence had English as the medium of instruction is school could speak a fair or good English. And now for those who learnt Mathematics and Science in English would have a similar effect with more exposure of English through the media as well.

Therefore, I believe the MOE should keep the two subjects in English.

16. Princess Lina - December 29, 2011

Dear Dr,

I am resending my comments again..

I strongly believe that Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. Its indeed for the sake for the children and their future. The use of English to teach these subjects will improve the English language proficiency of the children in schools. Probably in the beginning it will be tough since learning English as a subject itself is difficult for many students but eventually they will love the subject.

This is because there are many terms in Science and Mathematics are in English but if these subjects are taught in Bahasa Melayu it will be difficult for the students to understand the subjects and therefore their marks will definitely decrease and students will start hating the language.

So, teaching Science and Mathematics in English is certainly a good opportunity forr all the students as when they enter the higher education level and then into the working environment, they need to use English to communicate. This will certainly be beneficial for them.

17. Connie Sim Siew Yung (PGP110021) - January 1, 2012

I strongly feel that Science and Mathematics should be taught in English. One will only be able to master the language if he/she is exposed to the language. With the teaching and learning of these two subjects in English, it is hoped that more pupils will be pushed through their English language acquisition. Furthermore, their realisation of the importance of English may serve as a motivation for them to learn the language.

Of course, the teachers should always be very flexible and resourceful to translate the more difficult terms into actions and quote more examples for illustration to make things clearer. Some who were and are against this claimed that the students could not understand the lessons taught in English thus causing their lack of interests. However, I have always wondered whether it is actually the students who could not understand or the teacher’s inability to teach effectively. A policy could be implemented successfully if the stakeholders are up to it.

18. khayaetiry - January 2, 2012

I personally feel that Mathematics and Science should be taught in English according to the area of the school, urban or rural area. The PPSMI policy gives different products in urban and rural schools.

Firstly, to increase the proficiency in English is the main concern, why target Science and Mathematics. Instead, they call for an increase in the time allocation for the English subject in the class timetables. Even without such an increase, a child who finishes 11 years of school (Std 1 to Form 5), would have had about 1,300 hours of English-language lessons. Yet, a large proportion of students, especially in rural areas, are still unable to string even a simple sentence in English free of errors in grammar or syntax after all those hours of learning English.

Secondly, the process of language learning needs to be properly understood. It is very different from the process of learning facts (as in subjects such as History and Geography) or concepts (as in Science and Mathematics). A lot of drill and practice can enhance the learning of these subjects but in language learning, drill and practice are only helpful when children are already proficient in the language. Instead, the process of immersion is far more suited for acquiring basic proficiency in a language. Linguists are convinced that language is more “caught than taught”. It is only through extensive reading and listening (or being immersed in a language) that pupils catch a language.

The third factor that begs consideration is the fact that any language needs to be learnt in an environment or context that promotes its use; it would be difficult to learn a language in isolation. It is clear that for most rural children that the environment for using English does not exist; once outside the classroom, English is never used.

The fourth point to consider is the innate capacity for language learning in human beings. Linguists and child psychologists tell us that all human babies are born with the capacity for language learning. They call it the Language Acquisition Device (LAD). This device begins to operate at around two years of age when children start thinking and speaking in a human language. Between the ages of two and seven, the device is most pliant and active, and children literally “mop up” whatever language they are exposed to. At this stage if children are constantly exposed to even two or more languages, they will still be able to accommodate those languages. Most of those who are proficient in multiple languages were exposed to those languages from an early age. As we get older, the device (LAD) becomes less and less active and by the time we reach adulthood it tapers off to a relatively low level. This explains why children learn a new language a lot faster than adults. (We have also learn this in our class-SLA)

Therefore, I personally feel that the application of PPSMI policy should be according to the area of the school, rural or urban area. Feel free to reply my point of view.thank you.

19. PRASHENA NAIR D/O PREBAKARRAN - January 2, 2012

In my personal opinion, I strongly feel that teaching of Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. The reason is simply because, realizing that the world is indeed transforming itself into modernization and globalization, thus, English will be then an essential spoken language or weapon which should be drill and dwell into students’ daily communicative tool. Looking way back in 2002, in which the year of implementation started when the government suggested and implemented PPSMI should be taught in English, that’s where the nightmare started whereby students were encouraged to learn PPSMI in English and at one point of time the government wanted to change the language medium. At this instant, to be honest, the main reason of all this predicament is because of the teachers itself who are afraid to teach and conduct the Science and Mathematics classes in English particularly in the urban schools. Hence, looking in-depth on this dilemma, who should be blame? Is it the government or teachers? I sincerely believe that, being an educator and since we are Malaysians, we, the educators got to be proficient enough in their languages (English and Bahasa Melayu).

On the other hand, parents are actually unaware on the administration policy since the guideline wasn’t clear enough. Parents were basically thinking that the policy will be unfaltering by the school solely without knowing that they too have a say in this matter. Some school even took the initiative to give out questionnaires to parents in order to perceive feedback on the language medium.
Furthermore, since the implementation, the media especially newspaper has played an essential role in prompting thoughts and ideas from various agencies, stakeholders, parents and even the public. For an instance,’ The Star’, 7th November 2011, our former prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi who was also Education Minister before, summons: “Be firm on education policies”. The reason is simply because children have been undeservedly troubled as they face these frequent changes. Thus, we should be empathetic towards these children who have to bear the consequences of decisions made by lawmakers.

In a nutshell, I personally and sincerely feel that, all of us should put a say and focus on an implementation and work on it which is teaching PPSMI crafting English rather than the Malay medium since English is an international and conventional language.

20. SITI AISHAH BINTI SAHAIRI (PGP 110013) - January 3, 2012

I do believe that Science and Mathematics should be taught in English. This issue is related to the article of my group’s presentation that day – Common Errors in Written English Essays of Form One Chinese Students : A Case Study. In this case study, Saadiyah & Khor (2009) highlighted that subjects in English only cover 600 minutes per week, while other subjects (except English, Mathematics and Science) are taught in Malay which takes up 920 minutes a week. Here we can see the time allocated for the teaching of English for lower secondary students (Form 1 – Form 3). Basically, 200 minutes are allocated for each subject – English Language, Mathematics and Science. Most of the time, students are exposed to Malay Language as majority of subjects are carried out in Malay instruction. It seems that English is being neglected in our education system.

When government decided to implement the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, it was a good start to reinforce the use of English in Malaysian school especially government school. Students need to be proficient in English as it is an international language that holds a prestigious place in Malaysian education and has become a second language in Malaysia. Students who are more proficient in English will have better chances in their lives.

The implementation of English as medium of instruction in the teaching of Science and Mathematics had received various views from Malaysians. For me, I prefer these subjects to be taught in English but there is disadvantage of this policy. Those who are weak in English will find difficulties in learning these two subjects but for those who are more proficient, they will be able to understand the lesson even though it is taught in English. For weak students, they will get double problems because they need to understand the content of the subjects and at the same time, they must understand the language used by the teachers. These indirectly can create tensions to students.

Sometimes disadvantage leads to good things as well. With the exposure of English in these two subjects, students are more confident to use English language. Therefore, this policy should not be abolished as it gives students more opportunity to practice English.

21. Ghivitha a/p Kalimuthu (PGP 110004) - January 4, 2012

So many reviews and opinions are published on this issue in daily basis because it’s a really a national issue which will define how Malaysia gearing itself facing globalization world. In my point of view there is pro and con using English as medium learning mathematics and science. But I believe when we elaborating a issue, we must have enough fact supported by research or proof.
Its known fact that English is world language which we cannot ignore when talks about the growth of individual or national. Government of Malaysia introduced English as medium of instruction in schools after numerous calls from industries and educators about lack of soft skills among locally produced graduates which seems as obstacle achieving Malaysian goal to be developed country in 2020. Noble intention turned political issue when ruling government loss majority in last election 2008. Until now this issue never find ending with new school session start with lot of confusion among parents and teachers. Of course the student the one become victim when a proper guideline not in picture.
Malaysia topography mainly can be divided in two categories as rural schools and urban school. Religious schools, boarding schools, Chinese and Tamil schools can be considered as rural school because it mainly dominated race based whereby mother tongue used as main language.
Urban schools situated in main city of country with its own history and usually polarized students with different of ethnic and background. Most of parents in urban area are educated and prefer English being used as medium of teaching because they more aware about current demand and children in urban area exposed widely usage of English in their daily lives.
The real problem starts at rural schools where the explosion of English is limited due to economic development and mother tongue education which practiced since colony days. Core argument of parents who oppose usage of English is weak students and these rural schools children can’t grab the knowledge when lesson are not taught in their mother tongue. How far it’s true? From research conducted by Unesco its proven that children which taught in mother taught can grab and doing well in subject than children learn using other language in early education. However do this static relevant to Malaysian context? We need to go some deep research to verify the truth. In Malaysia, vernacular school children go through changes in medium of instruction when they enter high school. How do these children can cope up with the changes?
We can see end product of this education system among us and we have different opinion about how the system shape us. How we can create education system which can cater the need of nation but in the same time achieve the purpose of education?
When we focus in this issue, we can realize that the most effected students are from rural schools and weak student from urban school who can’t cope up with peers. In reality 7 out of 10 students who are considered as averages and weak student will be affected when there are changes in education system. It is big number and if it didn’t take in account, surely the nation will lose big assets in human capital in future.
But does current education system can sustain and contribute for future development where globalization taking places everywhere? In my point of view, current education system should emulate the changes to be par with other nation in the region. So it good move of government of Malaysia introducing English in education system but there must be implemented with more cautioned manner so that rural and weak students not effected in acquiring basic knowledge which be the purpose of education.
The fruit of any changes in education system only can be seen after a few years. It’s about 15 years ready since English used up as medium of instruction to teach Science and Mathematics and now we can see the result. From what I observe, rural schools students still facing problem studying science and mathematics in English and their result in latest PMR(lower secondary examination) not satisfactory compare to urban school students. But there is lot of improvement from previous years and each year the level showing significant improvement. On other survey showed the students who learn mathematics and science in English more confident using internet for education purpose than students who are not. This is small achievement towards building knowledgeable society.
More survey should be conducted in micro level to understand the implication among student. By that, a proper structured plan can be module which suits the need of nation and parents. Singapore’s module of education system can be used as example because it’s proven producing globally compatible workforce without hampering mother tongue education. Rural schools students’ predicament should given special priority to gain community trust and support.
No parents in sensible mind would deny the importance of English but why they do? It’s because they fear their children will left out in the race but could we accept that Malaysia would left out with other country if there is no changes take place? More people voiced their grumbling and concern after government reverted the usage of English in teaching Science and Mathematics. A group of parents set up NGO called PAGE to defend and explain to other part of society about the important of English. Even thought government of Malaysia aware the need of changes, because of political scenario they couldn’t impose strict condition which will make them loose support from certain segment of people if they do.
In my opinion, the decision of any educational system should be purely made by academia and any interference from political party should be avoided. The bold step should take because we are out of time compare with neighboring country. So English should remain the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics in Malaysian schools.

22. Di Siti Shi - January 4, 2012

Siti Shi Di PGP110024

Based on the issue, personally, I think it is extremely important to have Maths and Science in english in school and i feel that it is best to leave it to english because it will help the students’ transition into higher education and in the world as it is an international language. The biggest benefit teaching Match & Science in English can bring is the contribution to globalization. For instance, Students able to get more information from network TV (like Astro-Discovery Channels), Internet (most info are in English), from high quality reference books (most are in English), etc. They would not have problem when studying in University especially Medical, Engineering, IT … and especially if they are send oversea (UK, Australia, US …). And they wouldn’t have problem communicating in workplace when they become working adult (especially in Engineering field, Medical field, Legal field, IT field & especially if they work with foreigners. As can be seen, a lot of the scientific terms in Bahasa Malayu are translated from English which have similar spelling…example: Bbiology – biologi, Mathematics – matematik, Science – sains, Computer – komputer, Exponent – eksponen, Constant – konstanta … and many more… i think the problem may lie in the student itself… visit English based website Facebook, Friendster, Google, WordPress, Blogspot, msn, and so on in English without problem… why there is a problem in learning more stuff in English? Maybe both teachers and students just need a period of time to adjust this change.

23. Siti Sarah Bt. Muhamad Azmi - January 4, 2012

SITI SARAH BT. MUHAMAD AZMI
PGP110008
PBGS 6113 RESEARCH IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

I somehow agree with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, our Deputy Prime Minister’s decision to abolish the PPSMI policy due to several reasonable reasons which will be listed below.

Going by the results over the past few years, it seems that this policy had failed to achieve its objectives, to ensure students’ mastery in science and mathematics in view of the fact that most of the sources are available in the English language. Indirectly, it is also hoped that the implementation of PPSMI would have a contribution to the enhancing of students’ command of the language. As we take a look on the reality now, it looks like the students seem to have some difficulties to master those subjects in English as the results are going down since it was introduced. There is also a scientific data to prove that a student’s improvement in understanding scientific and mathematical concepts are closely linked to the language of communication that he or she can easily understand.

As for a future teacher, they are still clueless where they will be posted after graduating from learning institution. If it is a rural place, I am very sure that they need to work hard a little bit to teach Science and Mathematics in English to ensure that students can understand what have been taught to them as they are not so exposed with the language. Vice versa, it will not be a big problem for them to teach these two subjects in English for the urban students as they have more opportunities to practice the language in their daily life. Even the statistics of 2008 UPSR showed that only 79.7% rural students had passed Science subject compared to 83.2% the year before. It shows us that there is a decrease in results from the subject after it uses English as the learning medium.

Furthermore, based on my observation towards graduate teachers form teacher’s training institute, most of them who teach Science and Mathematics commented that it was quite hard for them to teach the students in English as they only mastered the subject in Malay language when they were in the teacher training institute. It was really difficult for them to translate some terms in the subject into English as some of them were also not so good in the language. Eventhough there were some workshops organized by the government for them to learn about English, it still did not contribute much in their teaching.

24. PRAVENDRAN MUTHU ( PBGS 110023 ) - January 5, 2012

PRAVENDRAN MUTHU
PGP110023
PBGS 6113 RESEARCH IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

I strongly believe that Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. This is because English is the language of knowledge. Although Bahasa Melayu is the first language in Malaysia, but the importance of mastering English is much more important where it is the world communication language. Most of the reading materials of academic or non academic are written and published in English.

When we look into the Malaysian education system, students who learn Mathematics and Science in English seems to perform better. As an example, the students who sat for the 2010 PMR examination who are the pioneer batch of PPSMI program has produced the best PMR result since year 2006. Besides that, the terminologies used for both Mathematics and Science are originated from the English language. Students who learn Mathematics and Science in Bahasa Melayu seem to face problem understanding the subjects content in higher education level. Furthermore , most of our graduates are also jobless out there due to low proficiency in English.

Although the government has introduced the soft landing policy to replace the current PPSMI policy with MBMMBI (Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening the English Language) policy , yet organization like Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) strongly disagree with the decision. According to PAGE chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim rural students are the biggest losers from the government’s decision to stop the teaching of science and mathematics in English. Citing the Millennium Development Goals 2010 report, it said both rural and urban students had benefited from PPSMI.“They (rural students) all showed improvements in English, no reduction in Bahasa Malaysia, and improvements in Science and Mathematics in the last few years,” it said.

In a nutshell, I believe that the education ministry have to look policies in depth before it is being introduced. This is because, the students and teachers are the victims each time a policy changes.

25. Pakialetchumy a/p Antoni - January 5, 2012

PAKIALETCHUMY A/P ANTONI
PGP110016

The teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English or known as PPSMI is a government policy which was introduced in 2003 by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad. This policy was aimed to improve the command of the English language among Malaysian students. In line with the policy, the Science and Mathematics subjects were taught in the English. Ever since, PPSMI has been the subject of debate among politicians, academicians and the public. Many felt that this was a good effort while many were opposing this idea. Personally, I feel that this policy is much needed by the nation in order to achieve the Vision 2020. Students will thank the government for this policy when they pursue their higher education as most of the subjects are taught in English. Furthermore, the available learning resources are also in English.

When this policy was first implemented in 2003, it started with pupils in Year 1 and students in Form 1 and students from other grades continued learning these two subjects in their national language. At this point, I don’t see a reason why the students should struggle as they are starting fresh. This brings us to the issue that, it is the teachers who are actually afraid to teach Science and Mathematics in English as they are very used to the Malay medium. There were also some who were afraid that the quality and the usage of the national language will deteriorate if these two subjects were taught in English. Many failed to realize that this policy is not replacing the national language but just as a medium of instruction. Instead of looking for weaknesses, we should have looked for strengths of this policy. Thus, to overcome all the possible setbacks, numerous assistances were provided by the government for both teachers and students in the form of textbooks, activity books, pupil’s CD-ROM, teacher’s CD-ROM, Science Practical Book and Glossary Book to assist the teachers and the students to go through this conversion smoothly.

As time went by, though both parties were facing difficulties, this policy was somehow maturing until the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the policy will be abolished in 2012. Though many didn’t agree the verdict was final. As I am pro-PPSMI, definitely this was not good news for me. I don’t think learning Science and Mathematics in English will make us forget the national language or even our mother tongue. As I am working in a higher learning institution, I constantly receive comments from my students that they could not cope with certain subjects as they were taught in the national language back in school. I feel the decision of abolishing PPSMI has just made it worse. Being a teacher, I think we should work for what is best for the students and their future instead of avoiding it as it is a trouble for us.

26. Erin Balqis Qing - January 10, 2012

I think the educational system should provide a chance to ask students to choose, whether they want to study science in English or Bahasa Malayu.
The higher secondary school can provide both English and Bahasa class for science, and the exam paper can be bilingual.
It is practical, and the most important thing is, we should listen to students’ opinion: what is in their thoughts and what do they truly like.
This is an appropriate way to raise learners’ motivation and the efficiency to study.

27. Mohanambikay a/p Pandian - January 11, 2012

English is an international language. There are many languages in the world where English is the foremost of them all. It is understood and spoken almost everywhere in the world. English has become the key instrument of globalization. What is vital today is knowing how to use the language rather than just knowing it. Looking at the situation now, English has become a godsend and pinch in every human being. One without the knowledge of this language may have to be facing difficulties later on when they go out to face the real world.

As the matter of fact, students should be kept occupied with the language and the use of English should be maximized whereas the present government had the idea of changing the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics from English to Bahasa Malaysia. Personally, there are many who think English is even more vulnerable compared to Bahasa Malaysia and it proves this testament right when you compare it with the real life situation. Bahasa Malaysia is used in least countries and it may not be as exposed as English in other countries. They may even have an interest in speaking English just to converse with travellers from other countries, who communicate by using English the global language while traveling abroad. Malaysian school students whom are relatively weak in English are condoned by this safe play situation.

In a point of time, English plays a very vital role in educating students. Students’ lives are put to jeopardy and most of our Malaysian school students whom are least exposed to English will encounter hard time later in their life mainly during their tertiary years. The use of English in Science and Mathematics would eventually expose them to most of the fundamental terms used in it, which is explicitly important when they are pursuing their tertiary level studies. This is an issue to be brought into consideration. As a clear cut fact, we all know how important English is, so why not maximize the use of English by incorporating it in Science and Mathematics; this would gradually give a chance for our students to explore and expertise their language skills.


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