Monday October 29, 2007
‘English only’ ruling for Maths and Science in secondary schools put on hold
By TEH ENG HOCK
KLUANG (Johor): Following the Government's decision on the Mathematics and Science papers in the UPSR, secondary school students will not be forced to use English for these subjects in their examinations in the next two to three years.
The Education Ministry will review the teaching and learning syllabus as well as the co-curriculum and teachers education before deciding whether Malaysian students are ready for English only examinations.
The initial plan was to have Year Six pupils answer their Mathematics and Science papers completely in English from next year.
However, said minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, he had promised MCA leaders and Chinese educationists that he would make a decision by this year as to whether to go ahead with the plan.
I am glad to have fulfilled that promise, he told reporters at a Hari Raya open house at his home in Taman Sri Lambak here yesterday.
Present was Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who had also voiced the view of the state Umno committee last year to put on hold the implementation of the English only ruling.
On Saturday, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that UPSR examination candidates would continue to have the choice of taking the two subjects in either English or Malay (or the vernacular language of their school.)
The Prime Minister explained that the schoolchildren had yet to attain proficiency in English.
Hishammuddin said secondary students would also continue to have the dual-language option although many of them have a decent command of English.
He said the weak students were mostly from the rural areas.
I will not do things on an ad hoc and piecemeal basis. I want to do it (using English) as a whole.
I want the foundation to be solid (at the primary level) before we look at the secondary schools, he said.
He added, however, that many secondary students chose to do the papers in English.
Citing matriculation students, he said 95% of them did their papers in English.
Abdul Ghani, who is Johor Umno chairman, said putting on hold the implementation of English only papers for Mathematics and Science would allow students to master both English and Malay.
At its state convention last year, the party voiced its concern over the use of English for the two subjects.
This drew comments from some quarters that it was a backward move and would not encourage young Malaysians to learn English. Asked about this, Abdul Ghani said: Sometimes, it is a misconception. Sometimes, it is just some people trying to create issues.