Malaysia: teachers don't want to teach in English

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Jan 24 15:21:10 UTC 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don't want to teach in English!

Right on the heels of yesterday's Star report about an English proficiency
test for teachers in Science and Math, there was a follow up report in
today's Star with the headline "Many still refusing to teach in English".
Said a teacher/trainer, who declined to be named: There are three main
reasons why teachers are still not teaching Maths and Science in English:
lack of confidence, the hope that the policy will revert to Bahasa
Malaysia and the fact that the exams are in both languages.

I was only aware that the Math and Science exams were still in both
languages for the new batch of students who were taught both of these
subjects in English when one of our readers pointed this out in the
comments section. While there may have been some validity in having this
policy during the transition period, if the MOE is committed to this
policy, then dual language exam papers should certainly be phased out and
soon. If not, the very thing which the anonymous teacher / trainer pointed
out will occur - that many teachers will refuse to teach Science and Math
in English thinking that the policy will be reversed in the near future.
While I think the move to teach Science and Math in English was badly
implemented, to do a U-turn now and revert back to the old policy would be
an even worse policy option. Certainly, I think the cabinet and MOE
deserves at least some faint praise for sticking to their guns on this
policy despite pressure at the UMNO General Assembly last November to
abandon this policy.

Hopefully, having more press coverage on this issue will ensure that the
MOE keeps taking proactive steps to rectify the situation. Ironically but
perhaps not surprisingly, also in today's Star, a report which showed that
almost a third of students graduating from public universities have
limited proficiency in English. How many of these graduates are channeled
into our primary and secondary schools as well as into the public service?
One can only wonder...


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list