Sunday, October 30, 2011

Playing with Fire

Not long after the current Education Minister who is also the Deputy Prime Minister took office he reversed the policy of teaching Mathematics and Science in English introduced in 2002. Effectively about 8 streams of students have benefitted from the transition which aimed to produce technocrats and science graduates competent internationally. I doubt the policy dubbed PPSMI was intended to export competent and well grounded science graduates. The policy was decided on the basis that using English as the lingua franca is sensibly since almost all science books, journals and research works are written in that language. Yes, there is the alternative argument that we are shaming our national language by reverting to that of our colonial master, which some of our people believe continue to colonize us via the language which is an unfortunate and myopic view. One's pride as citizen and of any racial grouping should not be dented by economic advantage in learning. Looking at our neighbors, studying English for career survival is a pragmatic decision. Learning one's national language is a citizen's responsibility which must not be confused with a patriotic duty and hence to dispense away what are opportunistic for our future. In the context of Malaysia it is normal for its people to be at least bilingual. Some even have to be trilingual.

The government cannot and must not experiment with the education policy which affects millions of our children, and thousands of science teachers too. The PPSMI decision was arrived at after serious study and must not be disbanded by one's fancy. In fact education policy must be above the purview of politicians who come and go. We Malaysian citizens demand a policy that is carried though with every change in EM and even government. Every change must be in consultation with civil societies interested in the welfare of our nation. The confrontation from the pressure group acronymed PAGE to protest against the switch back to using Bahasa Malaysia as lingua franca for Maths and Science progressively from next year has reach new height with a threat to not vote for the incumbent government if it pursues the revision which the EM said is not feasible which is a subtle rejection of PAGE demand. This puts the government in an awkward position to eat humble pie or risk the wrath of parents who care for the future of their children. Will the prime minister be able to reign in his powerful deputy PM or let the public sentiments decide his mandate at the 13th General Election due in the coming year?

Read THIS latest report.

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