KUCHING: Teaching of Mathematics and Science in English will not help a lot to improve the command of the language in the country’s schools.
In fact, Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School (SUAPCSS) Management Board is of the opinion that it would adversely affect the effectiveness of teaching the subjects.
Board chairman Temenggong Datuk Vincent Lau Lee Ming said the change was a plausible move by the Education Ministry and state government to work together to improve English literacy and proficiency among Malaysians.
“We, however, don’t believe that switching the teaching medium can greatly lift the command of English,” he said at the presentation of a grant to the board here yesterday by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Also present at the presentation ceremony were Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian; Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; and Datuk Richard Wee.
Lau said, in fact, as recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), the teaching of Science and Mathematics ideally should be in the mother tongue or national language.
“The obvious reason is the success stories of Japan and China, which implemented teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in their mother tongues,” said Lau in reference to a recent announcement by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik that Sarawak would become the first state in Malaysia to teach Mathematics and Science in English.
Maszlee’s reason was “to help raise the command of English” although some people would argue against the importance of English being an international language, especially in today’s interconnected world.
In fact, it is the lingua franca in cyberspace and in international science, politics, business and entertainment, he said.