Malaysia: Dong Jiao Zhong threatens nationwide teacher strike - malaysiakini

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Dec 9 16:57:20 UTC 2008

Dong Jiao Zhong threatens nationwide teacher strike - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Influential Chinese education movement Dong Jiao Zong has threatened
to launch a massive nationwide protest should the government decide to
continue with its controversial policy of teaching Science and Maths
in English.

The United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong)
president Ong Chiow Chuen urged the government to reverse the
language-switch policy, which was implemented in 2003 amid strong
objections.  According to Ong, the Education Ministry is scheduled to
hold its fifth round-table meeting on Dec 16 to gather views of
stakeholders. "This will be the last meeting. We will be sending two
representatives to raise objections of the people on the use of
English to teach Science and Maths. "We want the mother-tongue
language to be used in the teaching of Science and Maths in all
vernacular primary schools starting from next year," he told
Malaysiakini when contacted today.

Does not help students

Failing a positive response, he said, Dong Jiao Zong will join forces
with other vernacular education groups and Chinese associations to
initiate a massive nationwide protest.

He argued that the academic results since the language-switch policy
was implemented have shown that the policy does not help students to
improve their proficiency in English.

The campaign against the language switch is also supported by Tamil
and Malay education groups, while Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani
Othman said the policy has widened the divide between urban and rural
schools, as well as affected the learning ability of Malay students.

At the recently-concluded PKR Youth congress, a resolution was passed
describing the teaching of Science and Maths in English as a "betrayal
of the position of Bahasa Melayu as the national language".

Teaching Science and Maths in English was the brainchild of former
prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to improve students' proficiency in
the language.

The policy was implemented in all national schools but an alternative
formula was reached for vernacular Chinese schools as a compromise
after strong protests from the community.

Critics have claimed that the policy was introduced as part of the
government's plan to phase out vernacular schools.

The Education Ministry has maintained that the students have
benefitted from the policy.

According to figures revealed in Parliament in May, a total of RM3.2
billion has been spent over the past five years in carrying out the
teaching of Science and Maths in English, with a large portion being
spent on the purchase of ICT equipment -
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