Monday, March 09, 2009

English for maths & science policy disputable

In this globalised and still fast globalising world, there is absolutely a fairly pressing need for all Malaysians to upgrade their proficiency of international languages, such as English and Mandarin. However, the better way is to interest and teach children and youths the languages through proper language courses. Using English to teach children and youths science and mathematics not only cannot better the command of the English language because science and mathematics only impart limited knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, but would also lead to the drop of the standards of science and mathematics simply because of the existing proficiency of English language of children and youths. Tear gas is surely not a means to make people to love any languages.

Western classics in Chinese-language editions

9 Comments:

Blogger kittykat46 said...

First things first. English for maths & science isn't going to improve the standard of English.

Basic concepts in Science and Maths are best learnt in the language the child is most familiar with. For my children, it was actually English - that's because I'm a middle-class "banana".

I'm well aware that for the majority of children in the country, its something else.

At secondary school level and beyond, where students need to start getting exposed to the richness of the knowledge of the world, it must be taught in a language with plenty availability of books and magazines on science maths, and technology - either/ both original or translated.

That's how Japan developed some of the most advanced technology in the world, China has a fast developing space program, all in their mother tongue.

After 51 years of Merdeka, Bahasa Malaysia does not have that base knowledge infrastructure in Science and Maths. Will we have it if we give it another 50 years ?

I'm not willing to bet our children's future on it.

9:55 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

You are right. Many parents and grandparents who do not know English have found it difficult to answer their children's questions of maths and science at home. Children who are not from English-educated family background also find it difficult because their parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbours are also not that good in English.

10:43 PM  
Blogger rc said...

how do malaysians advance in science and mathematics when they are indoctrinated to "respect" untruths, mistakes and errors on the part of the rich and powerful. if we truly understand the history of the West and that of science, we certainly know that the quantum leaps of science is not about its medium of instruction or transmission but the type of scientific spirit of saying: "xxxx you, my lord (tuanku), the earth is round, not flat".

12:56 AM  
Blogger mary said...

we can actually call this type of half-past-six policy as lose-lose solution that leads Malaysia to neither here nor there.

12:06 PM  
Blogger wits said...

Between nationalistic pride and wisdom, the half past six governance chose to cater to the feel good pandering.

Actually the language policy from the late sixties was a political hobbling of a section of people and making things convenient and easy for another.

It didn't work to either enhance unity or efficiency - quite on the contrary. Ironical and deserved!

7:58 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

A German ,a Japanese , a Chinese or a Russian could communicate using their mother tongue for practising technological activities without any problem in their homeland as these countries are technological dominance

However , Malaysian just cannot afford not to learn English as basically we produce nothing on leading edge technolgy . We have to rely other countries .

While even a Japanese developed a computer programming language called Ruby, our graduate in local IT merely able to draw some animation.

That is why the MDEC is very keen on promoting local digital animation. They though this is IT ...

Always remember , we don't have any Angkasawan , we only have Penumpang Angkasa

12:56 AM  
Blogger rc said...

The problem of underdevelopment of science and technology in Malaysia is not language at all. It is a combination of factors:

1. a vast amount of economic resources have been allocated to an unproductive or even parasitic elite class which only consumes and does not produce or reproduce: the law of opportunity cost suggests that those resources could have been used for scientific and technological activities;

2. The minds of a significant number of Malaysians are still firmly framed and conditioned with anti-scientific and irrational ideas like "respecting" falsehood, untruths, wrong decisions and etc of the elites in the names of race, religion, tradition and the "sacred" institution;


3. These premodern elites who propogate the irratuonal ideas to the people (but not their own children and grandchildren, of course) are exactly the ones who take up a large portion of economic resources which could have been used for scientific activities and technological education.

1:35 AM  
Blogger wits said...

Kittykat46: "After 51 years of Merdeka, Bahasa Malaysia does not have that base knowledge infrastructure in Science and Maths. Will we have it if we give it another 50 years ?"

It didn't have sufficient vocabulary, to start with.

Bolehland has sure succeeded in creating a supremacist racist-elitist society where meritocracy has gone south and duplicity, the operating norm. Not to mention the loss of appetite and any serious need for Truth. Integrity and Justice, as well. Almost plainly inevitable from the start.

Do we really need IT graduates just to create a website? I learnt how to, by myself, along time ago.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Mohamed Idris said...

I agree with Mr. James. Actually, Teaching science and maths in English can have grave effects on Malaysia. Read my latest blog entry to find out more.

Thanks!

2:27 AM  

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