Jul 9, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR: Many parents and students are very disappointed at the Cabinet’s decision to reverse the Teaching of Science and Mathematics policy.
Said mother of three Kam Swee Har: “Language is not just about teaching grammar and writing essays; it is the whole application of the language.
“The exposure is different when you’re learning technical subjects like Science or Maths.”
Engineer and father of four, Sulaiman Mahran, agreed: “Technical terms need to be absorbed in English, so strengthening English in general is not going to help in Maths and Science.”
Azra Banu, who has a child in Year Six, pointed out that it is the rural students who will lose out in the long run.
Businesswoman Haili Abdul Jamil, who has two children in Years One and Two, is seriously considering enrolling her children in an international school following the decision.
The impact of the decision is particularly hard on students who will enter Form Four in 2012.
Form One student Anisa Sulaiman is anxious about switching to Bahasa Malaysia in the two subjects when she gets into Form Four in 2012.
“I have been learning Maths and Science in English, so it will be difficult if we change the medium of instruction later on,” she said.
In Penang, Han Chiang High School Just English centre adviser Ooi Lay Le said the standard of English among students would drop if the two subjects were not taught in the language.
“We are going backwards,” said Ooi who has been teaching for 40 years.
SJK (C) Union Bahasa Malaysia Committee head Cheah Choo Suan, 55, said teaching the subjects in English would have helped broaden students’ knowledge of new terminologies and improve their command of the language.
Year Five student R. Abirami, 11, from SK Convent Green Lane, said it would be hard for her to adapt to the new system.
“We have memorised the scientific terms in English,” she said. “I’m afraid it will be hard to re-learn them in Bahasa Malaysia.”
In Johor, some parents are even considering sending their children to Singapore where they can learn in English.
Dr Santhi Sivalingam Moorthy, 41, said she would seriously consider transferring her three children, aged between five and 10, to Singapore schools now.