Malaysia: Teaching Science and Mathematics in English: 'Wrong to learn language this way'

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Sep 5 19:36:10 UTC 2008

Forwarded From edling at

New Straits Times Online

Teaching Science and Mathematics in English: 'Wrong to learn language this

It is wrong to use subjects to teach English. This is the consensus of
educationists on the deteriorating standard of the language among Malaysian

Educationists argued that the deteriorating standard of English could not be
arrested by teaching Science and Mathematics in English.

"They are hoping that by some magic, the pupils will learn the language in
this way," said Royal Professor Ungku Aziz.

"For people to learn the language properly, they must be taught grammar and
syntax from the primary, secondary and even up to first year of university.

"The tragedy of our time is that most of those in their 20s have no idea
what grammar is all about. You have to learn English according to the
grammar rules in order to use the language correctly. You have to learn
language as a language first," he said.

National Union of Heads of Schools President Pang Chong Leong agreed with
the argument against using English as the medium of instruction for Science
and Mathematics.

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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