Nota Terkini

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seven proposals on teaching math and science in English

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Stick to Mathematics and Science in English, revert to Bahasa Malaysia, let the primary schools teach in mother tongue and secondary in English, or let the primary schools decide for themselves – these are among seven proposals that have arisen from the formal discussions on the medium of instruction for the two subjects.

The other three proposals are that Mathematics and Science be taught in Bahasa Malaysia and mother tongue for Years One to Three and in English from Year Four onwards, or a combination of mother tongue in the first three years and a choice of that (mother tongue) and English, or that the two subjects would not be taught in the Years One to Three and instead be integrated into other subjects.

These proposals were summarised from four roundtables organised by the Education Ministry to gather feedback from a spectrum of stakeholders since July.

However, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong, who chaired the fifth and final roundtable discussion on Tuesday, cautioned that the purpose of the open and frank dialogues was to gather feedback from all parties and no decision on the issue would be made at this juncture.

“We will put together a report for Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein who will then study it and submit the ministry’s findings to the Cabinet for a decision,” he told a press conference after the roundtable.

What was disclosed for the first time and of great interest to the 180 participants present was the analysis of the recent Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) based on the performance of the first cohort of Year Six pupils who have gone through six years of Maths and Science in English.

“Overall, the trend has been positive. Pupils have actually done marginally better in many instances. More pupils in both urban and rural schools scored A, B and Cs in the two subjects.

“Even their performance in the English language has shown a rather big improvement of 4.4% while the performance in Bahasa remained stable,” said director-general of education Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom who presented the analysis.

Another encouraging sign was that the number of pupils opting to answer the two subjects in English had increased significantly, reflecting greater confidence in using the language.

In Tamil vernacular schools (SJKT), 62.76% of pupils answered in English for Science and 89.11% for Science.

The scenario was completely different in Chinese national-type schools (SJKC) though. Only 2.86% answered in English for Science and 1.29% for Maths.

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