"The [Chinese education] boat has left the harbour and sailed too far to turn back now.”
– Helen Ang in 'Di mana bumi ku pijak'
Malaysiakini Dr M turns up the heat with online poll - thank goodness the article was not penned by Athi Shankar Veeranggan wakakaka.
Dr M is pissed off with Najib’s retreat from the teaching of Maths and Science in English. One never f*'s around with any of his pet projects, whether this be the teaching of Maths & Science in English or the crooked Bridge to Kiasu Island.
For context on why some Chinese parents prefer vernacular education for their children, please read my last year’s post A central pillar of Chinese culture ...
... to see how in the 50’s and 60’s Chinese parents actually abandoned vernacular for English education for their children, ...
... but made an 180-degree turnaround to return to Chinese medium when a succession of UMNO Education Ministers began to opportunistically kick the Malaysian education system about like the political football it then was, ...
... and apparently still is today.
I then wrote: Frankly I personally do not believe one can learn English effectively through Science and Maths where the vocabulary or linguistic expression used would be limited to technical terms – perhaps those suspicious of the government’s intention have assessed likewise.
Apart from English language lessons per se, the best subjects requiring wide linguistic expressions and extensive employment of vocabulary would be history, literature, morals, social sciences, economics, and even religious studies - but certainly not Maths and Science.
Anyway, the language per se is not so important as the system. Look at the Japanese or German education systems in their native languages as examples of excellence.
But the problem with Malaysian system is that it’s very seldom fully prepared ... the national doctrine of 'gaya mahu, kalah ta'apa' campur with a kiasu attitude prevails, ...
... and it’s worse when the ugly hands of nationalism or politics further dirty the issue.
Whatever language we want to promote, be it English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil, Arabic, French, Swahili, Japanese or Hebrew, etc, we must have the system prepared, namely, teachers skilled to teach fluently in the preferred language, a well laid out curriculum, reading materials in the language, other training aids, support services etc.
Or, to borrow Dr Mahathir’s immortal words, it’ll at best be nothing more than a half-past six system.