Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kit Siang: Malaysia has the craziest education system in the world

By Lee Wei Lian

PETALING JAYA, July 14 — Lim Kit Siang slammed the Cabinet over the decision last week to scrap the use of English to teach mathematics and science starting from 2012. He said students caught by the transition while in Form 4 in 2012 have to flip to Malay for mathematics and science before flopping back to English for the next five or six years of tertiary education,

“I stand by my strong criticism of the Cabinet decision particularly for secondary schools from 2012, when I said that Malaysia will have the world’s most crazy educational system,” said Lim in a statement to the media. “Those who want to impose such an educational system must have their heads examined as to whether they are fit to be in the Cabinet in the first place!”

MCA and Gerakan presidents Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon were singled out by Lim for their comments in the Chinese media.

“It is no use that Ong and even Koh claim that English should continue to be used as a medium of instruction for maths and science in Forms 4 and 5 from 2012, when they were full parties to the Cabinet decision last Wednesday to turn the Malaysian education system into a crazy 9-2-5/6 system, with students going through nine years of the two subjects taught in English, two years in Bahasa Malaysia in Forms 4 and 5 and then reverting to English for five or six years of pre-university and tertiary education in maths and science,” said Lim.

The decision to scrap the use of English in teaching mathematics and science has been met with bouquets and brickbats — the former from Malay and Chinese language champions and the latter from many parents across all ethnic groups who see a strong command of English as essential in today’s world.

It also drew mixed responses from within both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. Some have hailed the decision while other have called for the policy to be retained at either the secondary school level or that parents be given the choice of selecting either Malay, English or mother toungue languages for the teaching of science and mathematics.

Lim called on the Cabinet, which meets tomorrow, to immediately abolish the “one size fits all” approach for schools and adopt a flexible education approach that takes into account the urban-rural gap but with the important principle that advanced students not be held back by others who lag behind academically.

This would include giving the choice back to parents on which language should be used for teaching mathematics and science.

His call is supported by the Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim who has urged the government to make the English option available to schools that want it.

“If the minister is willing to accommodate vernacular schools, he should rightly do the same with schools that wish to maintain status quo, which have benefited from the policy and are confident that the intended objective has been met,” she said. “It appears that this decision will further split the races into their comfort zones. This reversion underestimates our rural children’s ability to learn Mathematics and Science in English, which will impede their access to the vast readily available resources in English.”

The government, however, has tried to assuage fears that English will be neglected by announcing several measures to strengthen English education including increasing time slots for English classes and recruiting retired English teachers locally and English language experts from abroad.

sels: Agree from BAKU, then ..then .. then.. flip flop English. There are no vision 2020 in education system. A vision is a key point in education system as this is the main factor that builds the leaders of tomorrow. If every Minister executes a vision for his term only ... we will soon get a flip flop leaders in future.

I am glad Tun Dr M stands by the decision to maintain English.

If you (the teachers) teach the students to learn, please apply the teaching to your self.....please learn English to be a good teacher. If your students has to teach you English please arrange an extra session!

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