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Thursday, July 16, 2009

English is for Everyone. Make Rooms for It!

I hope that it is not too late for me to talk (to write, actually) about this.

I really want to put a discourse for this one particular issue which have stirred much pandemic in Malaysia, especially amongst the scholars, school teachers, parents, the government and everyone who cares, really.

Recently, the government has announced the reversion of Mathematics and Science subjects to be taught in Malay language, in stages, starting in 2012. For those who deprecate this very decision (including me!), we have to realize that the kids in school have less than three years to enjoy the hidden benefits of learning English.

Why did I say less than three years? It was very much because I strongly believe (I might be wrong, though) that as soon as the government made the announcement, the struggles and motivation to still teach those two subjects in English would decrease enormously. Yes, it is undeniably true that our schools will still conduct the subjects in English, but I am talking about the 'spirit' now. That is why I said that its going to be less than three years.

And those who have been dearly waiting for the government to make such a reversion would consider teaching Mathematics and Science in English as pivotal no more. Slowly but surely, the pupils are so getting back to the old track, and this situation is taking its place in the driver's seat even before 2012 says hi.

The government has its very own justifications for making this decision. And in today's newspaper, our Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, reiterated that the government's decision on the reversion is final. When justifying, the government explained that research done on the effectiveness of the usage of English in teaching Mathematics and Science have somehow jepopardized the overall examination results of pupils, especially those in the rural areas.

But then again, I am not so sure whether they have disclose the full research for the public to witness, or I might have overlooked at it. We can say that this decision is a benevolent action on one hand, yet daunting on the other.

Mathematics and Science are two very important subjects which will help our dear country to galvanize itself to be a country which can be deemed as a well developed one. When we talk about this, it is very much about going global (or glokal, whichever you think is best). To go global, the utmost thing is to speak the international language and Malay language can never be one, not even in 100 years to come. but English already is and will stay there permanently. Look, I am not depreciating my very own mother-tongue language, but this is about talking FACT, living in REALITY.

Well yes, on July 13, the government through the Education director-general, Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Don has made further announcement that to make way for English, they have decided to reduce the hours for three subjects (Music, Physical Education and Science) by 45 minutes each to accommodate for English language. Me myself thanked the government for this, although back in school Physical Education is one of my favourites! (Netball, softball, hockey and volleyball..Ouh, I miss those old days).

While this might be a pretty good news, but as a citizen, I am afraid still. First, we are talking about Mathematics and Science as the most important subjects to generate more desirable developments for Malaysia. Second, except English language, all subjects taught in local schools will be in Malay language and mother-tongue languages in national-type schools. Tan Sri Alimudin also said that the minister will encourage teachers to use English terms in teaching art subjects.

I think this is confusing, though. To use mix-language in teaching is definitely not a smart decision anyway. How can such an action encourage English proficiency amongst the school kids and Malaysians at large? Or are we leading ourselves to talk Mang-lish instead of pure Malay or English language? Please tell me that the answer is a big no.

The government definitely has heterogeneous interests to protect. So I guess, it is not merely on the government's shoulder to carry this thing. Parents, teachers and all individuals who care should really nail down this thing.

Do we really care? If the answer is a yes, then let's play our roles to cultivare English proficiency in ourselves, the kids and future generations alike. Let's encourage the usage of English in education as the course of learning goes beyond the clasroom.

Point taken. It's on us now. So good luck everyone!