Government evaluating success of Maths and Science policy

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Mar 28 13:55:34 UTC 2005

More from The Star Online

Monday March 28, 2005
Government evaluating success of Maths and Science policy

KUALA LUMPUR: An in-depth study on the use of English in the teaching of
Mathematics and Science is being carried out to determine if the policy
has succeeded in achieving its objectives, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Najib Tun Razak said.  He said the study would determine if there was
a transitional problem or something more deep-rooted and permanent that
needed to be addressed.

There are a few suggestions to refine the policy but its too early for me
to mention them now, he told reporters after closing the two-day Second
Malay Education Congress at Berjaya Times Square Hotel here yesterday.
Asked if the policy would be reviewed or amended, Najib said the public
should not speculate.

We cannot change policies hastily, although we are concerned about the
poor performance of Malay students, he said, adding that this was why the
Government had started monitoring the performance of Malay students.
CASUAL TALK: Hishammuddin with Najib after the Deputy Prime Ministers
closing speech at the Second Malay Education Congress at Berjaya Times
Square Hotel in Kuala Lumpur Sunday. Najib stressed that any change in the
policy would not be made on an ad hoc manner, but would be well researched
and discussed.

But we need time and empirical evidence to study the matter as the
implementation had just started. And we need to discuss the matter with
the Prime Minister as well, he said. Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
had said on Saturday that the use of English to teach Mathematics and
Science in schools had affected the performance of Malay students in the
rural areas.

Speaking at the congress, Tengku Razaleigh, who was also present
yesterday, had said a study showed that students and teachers were not
proficient in the language, lacked enthusiasm and were uninspired to teach
and learn the two subjects. Najib said the congress, attended by 1,000
people, acknowledged the importance of mastering English and other foreign
languages without compromising the use of the national language.

He said the congress, however, expressed doubt in the policy and asked if
there were other methods of mastering English without sacrificing the
achievements of Malay students. He said the congress emphasised the
introduction of lifelong learning for the betterment of Malays, so that
those aged 24 to 35 could continue learning. Earlier in his speech, Najib
said it was important for Malaysians to achieve success.

If need be, parents must be willing to sell their cows and buffaloes to
buy computers or build study rooms for their children in order to excel,
he said, adding that the majority of Malay parents felt that their duties
were over after buying school books and uniforms. I wouldn't be here if my
late father didn;t place emphasis on my education and it's the same with
(Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin (Tun Hussein), (who was also
present at the function), said Najib.

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