Thursday, April 2, 2009

Math and Science

I can still remember when I was in standard six, I was from a Chinese school so I was taught mathematics and science in Chinese. Naturally for my UPSR, I would answer my exam questions in Chinese rather than in English. After my UPSR, we were told that for our secondary school life, we will be learning mathematics and science in English instead of Bahasa. We were the first badge of Form one students to be taught Mathematics and Science in English. My primary school teachers were afraid that we may not be able to catch up on both of this subjects, thus, giving us classes of back to basic mathematics and science in English.

For my whole five years in secondary school, my mathematics and science results were just slightly above average. I had many Malay classmates that could score better than I do even though my English was way better than them. Do you think that if back then Mathematics and Science were taught in Bahasa, my results would be better than those whom are better in Bahasa? My answer is NO, I definitely don’t think that this situation could be vice-versa. Learning mathematics and science is about the skill and understanding on how the equations or the formulas work. Do you think the teachers will really care if their student had grammatical error on their exam papers? We don’t write an essay on how we got our answers in mathematics. While for science, key words are what the examiners are looking for.

My question is, why are we so worried about whether mathematics and science are to be taught in English or Bahasa? Why are we so freckle minded about this? Learning those two subjects in English doesn’t make us forget our mother tongue. Bahasa Malayu is still taught as a compulsory subject in schools. It had also been proven by Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom, a director-general of Education, that the performance of Bahasa in schools remained stable during the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English. Besides that, the performance of English Language had improved. So what is wrong learning mathematics and science in English? Don’t you think it will be easier for the students to understand when it comes to their tertiary education?

Bahasa is important. It not only has enabled us to be able to communicate in another language but it had also helped in embracing Malaysia’s unique culture and traditions. Though, that doesn’t mean that we should push other languages aside. If we keep changing the system, not only the teachers will be the one suffering but also students will have a tough time adapting to the subjects. Malaysia is not moving forward if this case continues. I could say that we are no longer thinking for what is best for the kids and the teens. So make up your mind Malaysia, what do you really want?

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