Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Doing the Limbo...

Neil Armstrong phrase following his historical lunar landing "A Small Step for Man...larger step for Mankind"....

Well, after all the big mess, debates, sneering and polls about the decision of scrapping the idea of teaching Science and Maths in English...our Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) have certainly taken us 30 years backwards this afternoon...

So yes, those schools in urban areas can breathe easily...Chinese and Tamil medium schools can walk the corridors smiling and stressed free...now that DPM has reversed our policies after almost 6 years of implementing and emphasizing Science and Maths in English...

This is a nightmare...one that does not go away when the alarm clock is cranked up...one that will further compromise the future of our generation...

In a perfect world, students would be learning all subjects in the best language for them individually, and also learning Malay and English perfectly fine regardless...But there is no such thing as a perfect world...so we can only imagine what is best in the interest of our students, we would have a CONSISTENT policy and competent teachers able to implement this policy...

This being my country Malaysia, and our politics being nincompoop clown performers, what we got was a silly compromise that made nobody very happy, and a paralyzed bureaucracy uninterested in making this policy work...One of the most telling an article (which I have yet to link...can't find it at the moment), which shows only 20% and 10% of secondary and primary school science and maths teachers respectively scored 67 or higher on an evaluation of their English proficiency...

So, it goes to show that their 6 year policy (year 2003-2009) of Science and Maths in English failed...on the other hands, 6 years is barely enough to move mountains...but our DPM decided to steer the wheel the other direction and try a different approach to enhance English learning: English literature will be reintroduced as a subject, along with grammar and composition...(I wonder if that is a misquote by The Star, because that would make a total of four subjects for the English language alone.)...The Minister also said that they would rehire retirees and foreigners if necessary to supply more English teachers...

Maybe teaching science and maths in English is a fatally flawed idea, but we have no way of telling that from this six-year experiment, because the government so thoroughly messed up its implementation!!...(There is also the counter-argument that teaching these subjects in English worked perfectly fine for thousands of schoolkids before we switched to Malay as the national medium of instruction in the 1970s...)...Yes, we have been transiting from Malay to English language for a couple of times now...and still no progress...

So we had a whole generation of students undergoing this massive change, all for nothing...And now we will have another generation of pain as thousands of kids get stuck in educational limbo while the government phases out this failure of a policy...

All this was completely unnecessary...The government could have at least tried to make
ETeMS ( English for Teaching Mathematics and Science) policy a success by not virtually sabotaging it, but they did not...they could have increased the allocation of time to English, refocus the curriculum, and hired professional English teachers six years ago, but they did not...

More importantly, the transition to teaching science and maths in English 6 years ago, would have been successful if only they had been patient and first prepared the teachers to use English in the classroom...But they did not...

In short, we spent six years spinning our wheels doing absolutely balls, and we have nothing to show for it...I feel infuriated...
I was a victim of this non-policy (I completed my studies in Malay...didn't do all that well, due to rebellion of having to translate all my subjects to English for my understanding)...but to see our future generation going through this limbo game as well...infuriates me all the more...

3 comments:

Philip said...

I normally don't want to even touch politics with a ten-foot pole, but I'm with you 100% on this one, Emily.

In short, this is the stupidest thing the present Government has done for the already appalling education system of this country.

Lina26435 said...

I think this is a political gimmick to garner votes for the next big grand election.

Accordingly, it'll be scrapped, what? 2013? hang on...isn't that year the next great big general election? and they think the rakyat is stoopid... -___-"

I wanted to make a post about this too, but figured, I don't wanna waste my precious blog space posting about something that is as dumb as this decision. All I know is, my maybe future kids will not be attending any government schools..that's for sure.

Boodyboy said...

While I think its a gimmick for the govt to win back their own "states" whcih do not have a good command of english, i think the 1st policy was also made in haste.

Hence that is why it is unsuccessful after so many years of being implemented. I hope when our govt does soemthing, it shouldnt be so shortsighted.

Gave my few cents worth in my blog as well ;-p