Malaysia to scrap teaching in English

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Mon Mar 16 17:01:07 UTC 2009

Malaysia to scrap teaching in English
Posted by admin
Monday, 16 March 2009 08:01

(The Straits Times) - MALAYSIA is set to reverse a controversial
policy by scrapping the teaching of mathematics and science in English
in primary schools, an influential online newspaper said yesterday.
The policy will, however, be continued in secondary schools, the
Malaysian Insider website reported.  An aide of Education Minister
Hishammuddin Hussein could not confirm the report when contacted

The teaching of the two key subjects in English, a policy known by its
Malay acronym PPSMI, was the brainchild of former premier Mahathir
Mohamad. He introduced it in schools in 2003 despite loud protests. He
felt it could improve Malaysian students' poor English standards and
keep them abreast of the two subjects, rather than have to wait for
Bahasa Malaysia translations of mathematical and scientific works.

But rural Malays said their children have problems coping with the
subjects when taught in English. Malay nationalists and Chinese
educationists have also opposed the move, saying it would erode the
mother-tongue languages.  The government under Prime Minister Abdullah
Badawi has since dithered over whether to continue with the policy.
The issue came to a head on March 7 when thousands of protesters took
to the streets in Kuala Lumpur to hand a memorandum of protest against
the policy to the Malaysian King. PM Abdullah then asked Datuk Seri
Hishamuddin to decide quickly whether to reverse the policy, but the
Education Minister said this is a decision that should be made
collectively by the Cabinet.

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