Malaysia: Decision by mid-April on language for Maths and Science next month

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Mar 18 21:27:36 UTC 2009

Decision known by mid-April on language for Maths and Science next month

PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet is expected to make a decision on the
language of instruction for Mathematics and Science in mid-April.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Hisham-muddin Tun Hussein said this was
the earliest he could possibly present it to Cabinet, in reference to
whether the teaching of the two subjects continues in English or
reverts to Bahasa Malaysia and mother tongue (Chinese and Tamil).
"There is no hurry anyway as we have spent RM3bil since the
introduction of the policy in 2003."-
 “It is not possible to table it this Friday as a memorandum is being
circulated to various ministries for feedback.

“There is also time to hear what the delegates have to say at the Umno
assembly next week,” he told The Star. Hishammuddin said
parent-teacher associations nationwide were also holding their annual
meetings and he had asked that they make this a part of their
agenda.“There is no hurry anyway as we have spent more than RM3bil
since the introduction of the policy in 2003,” he said. Almost 100,000
teachers were involved and over six million students had gone through
the policy, he added.

“Two-and-a-half months since the release of the UPSR results for the
first cohort (who were taught the two subjects in English from Year
One in 2003) is not long,” he said. On a report in online news portal,
Malaysian Insider, quoting sources that the policy was likely to
revert to Bahasa Malaysia and mother tongue for primary schools,
Hishammuddin said this was not possible. “Any policy decision must go
through the Cabinet. The decision in 2003 was also made by the
Cabinet,” he said.

Education director-general Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom urged the public
to refrain from speculating on the policy. “A memorandum on the policy
was circulated to several ministries for feedback last week,” he said.
The Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English (ETeMS or better
known by its Malay acronym, PPSMI) policy was implemented in phases,
beginning with Year One, Form One and Lower Six students in 2003
during the tenure of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It
was reported last week that Dr Mahathir defended the use of English to
teach Science and Mathematics, saying it was necessary to ensure
Malaysia could keep up with the rest of the world. He said it would be
better for people to know the language so they could get the
information themselves.
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