Indonesia: Should English be taught at primary level?

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Nov 15 15:17:32 UTC 2008

 Forwarded From: edling at

The Jakarta Post

Should English be taught at primary level?

Mochamad Subhan Zein, Jakarta

English has been very influential in Asia's language educational
policies and practices for the past couple of years. Assuming
children's superiority in language learning over that of adults, many
Asian countries believe that introducing English to primary students
is considerably important to ensure their success.

Whereas English is a compulsory subject in Singapore and the
Philippines, the language has been used as a medium of instruction for
teaching mathematics and science at primary levels in Malaysia since
2003. The same policy is also implemented by India and Pakistan who
use English as an official language and introduce it to the children.

Together with China, Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea, Japan is
committed to providing access to primary levels students to learn

We cannot see the same enthusiasm in Indonesia, however. There is no
foreign language policy during this time that can equip children with
English in order to take part in the global competition. That means
English is inaccessible to most Indonesian children.

Full story:


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at


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