Language in Education Planning --

Joseph Lo Bianco joe.lobianco at
Thu Dec 12 01:32:22 UTC 2002

There are several precedents.  Sri Lanka is engaged in a similar process
right now with the Amity School project, intended to bring together
Sinhalase and Tamil children in English medium core subjects (at present
they ae educated separately in Sinhala and Tamil respectively).  Although
'globalisation' is not cited as the main reason, but 'ethnic harmony', there
is considerable evidence that the international commodity power of English
is part of the deal.  In fact it seems that quite a few schools that have
gone over to English do not enrol children from the 'other' community at

I think that similar developments would be found in the schools in several
Pacific Island nations, and indeed in parts of PNG.   Regards, Joe

(PS I hope you like the Voices fromPhnom Penh book that has your chapter in

Joseph Lo Bianco
Language Australia: NLLIA
Suite 4, The Atrium
51-57 Northbourne Ave
(GPO Box 3175)
Canberra ACT 2600
02 6230 4689
02 6230 6765
joe.lobianco at
0407 798 978

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-lgpolicy-list at
[mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at]On Behalf Of Moses Samuel
Sent: Tuesday, 10 December 2002 5:18
To: lgpolicy-list at
Subject: Language in Education Planning --

The government of Malaysia has recently announced that beginning 2003,
mathematics and Science in national schools will be taught in English.  In
the 1960s as part of nation building/ language planning efforts, the
Malaysian education system opted to make Malay, the national language, the
medium of instruction for all subjects at school, hoping that instruction in
a  common national language would promote national unity among its
ethnically diverse population.

Now almost 20 years later, a language policy reversal back to English  is
underway for Mathematics and Science subjects, partly because of
globalization and because translation efforts have not kept pace in fields
that are developing rapidly.

I'm wondering if anyone is aware of language planning/ language policy
research done elsewhere in other countries on a similar circumstances --
policy reversal back to English in postcolonial contexts, and language in
education planning for Mathematics and Science at the school level?

Moses Samuel
University of Malaya, Malaysia


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