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Monday, April 19, 2010

ENGLISH MEDIUM, Anyone?

It seems that the same topic is being discussed in the papers everyday... These few "Letters to the Editor" in the local daily caught my attention today....

Let PTAs, parents make the decision

2010/04/19

I AGREE with those who have written to the NST calling for the reintroduction of English-medium schools, as this is the only way our children will not be left behind in a borderless and competitive world.


It's true that some politicians pacify the hardcore but misguided nationalists. However, on the quiet, they ensure their own children are educated in private, international or foreign schools.

It is no secret that even ministers graduated from English-medium schools left behind by the British, until the change to the Malay medium in the 1970s.

While the Education Ministry and politicians walk a tightrope to pacify nationalists without falling off and killing their political future, perhaps the ministry should leave the decision to democracy.

The ministry should leave the decision on whether a school switches to English-medium or otherwise to the parent-teacher association, or a referendum should be taken by parents who have children in a school.

If the majority in that school want the medium to be English, so be it.
The ministry could also insist on a confidence vote of at least 80 per cent and let parents themselves decide.

There is little point in trying to do this covertly, such as allowing only private schools to run English-medium schools or classes. Government schools, at the end of the day, are seen to be second-class to private ones, only because the medium of instruction in the latter is English.

The government must move quickly to resolve this issue, lest the country is left behind by the rest of the world.

Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong were virtually handed a first-class education system by the British.

However, our children's future and this nation's competitiveness are now being jeopardised.

You cannot get a job anywhere in the world or even in the private sector in Malaysia if you cannot articulate your thoughts, vision and responsibilities in English because this is the technological language of the world.

We started off at an advantage after independence and, after 52 years, we have lost the edge.

Before we are branded as a "has been" in the sands of time, the government must endeavour to do the right thing. Our children should not be the victims of misguided nationalism.

The government should offer the choice of English-medium schools to those who want to secure their children's future.


Z.K.

Not Unpatriotic..

2010/04/19

I CONSIDER Malaysia fortunate for having been colonised by the British.



Unlike other colonial masters, the British left behind a highly- structured public administration, an orderly system of government and, above all, the English language.

Citizens of non-Commonwealth countries struggle to be proficient in English as the language is alien to them. But not Malaysians schooled before the adoption of the National Education Policy, when Bahasa Malaysia came to be used as the medium of instruction.

The present generation views English as an alien language and has difficulty mastering it despite the efforts of the Education Ministry.

Worse still, there are some who consider English a colonial language that should not be learned if one considers oneself a true Malaysian.

Once upon a time, we put the British to shame with our Queen's English.
Today, we have to import British teachers to teach us Queen's English, as proposed by the ministry recently.

The rationale, perhaps, is that the court jester speaks better English than the young Malaysians of today.

Indeed, due to nationalistic sentiments, we are now behind other Commonwealth countries where English is concerned. Even the Scandinavians speak better English than us.

We have to be realistic that in the borderless world, English is the accepted lingua franca.

It is a universal language and not identified with the British anymore.

One is not unpatriotic for speaking Queen's English, as exemplified by our prime ministers past and present.

Our problem today is how to create a level playing field where urban and rural students can be proficient in English while not compromising on the National Education Policy. It is a tough act to juggle.

Certainly, half a loaf is better than none. But a half-baked solution will not solve the problem either.

For those who can afford it, there are international schools to turn to. But those who can't afford it have to make do with what is available. After all, some have argued that the Sekolah Kebangsaan have produced scientists and professionals and that we are on the way to achieving developed-nation status by 2020.


HASSAN TALIB
Gombak

p/s:
For the sake of our kids, I really hope the government will consider these views from the public...Amin...

Have a nice day...

6 comments:

a l i said...

i hope more Malaysian teachers have thoughts like yours, seriously

ps : did you teachers really discuss this matter in PTA's meetings?

DESS said...

From what I hear from my friends in KL, yes.., they do discuss this issue at PTAs. But here in Perlis, they don't bother to.
Senior teachers like me could see the importance of PPSMI, but not the younger generation of teachers, especially BM teachers!! They are, of course, all out for MBMMBI.
So, having both mediums, i.e. English Medium and Malay Medium in schools, would be the best solution!!
I just hope there are more Malaysian MPs who are wise enough to see the importance of PPSMI.

a l i said...

so I assume you are saying that most younger teachers are not thinking maturely about this issue (afraid of changes and scared to come out of the comfort zone)do you?personally?

DESS said...

Yep, that's the real situation. My wife is a BM teacher and I get info from her. But she is pro-PPSMI. We sent our eldest son to Kolej Yayasan Saad in Malacca 7 years ago. He is set to further his studies in Beijing, China this September, being a Petronas scholar. His way of thinking is far more advance than my students in SMK Derma (formally Derma English School), the first batch of Cluster School. But, PPSMI really help my students a lot..
The problem now is that PPSMI is off in 2012 and I have 4 more kids who will suffer!! 3 of them are presently in SMK Derma (F1, F2, F4). You can imagine my grouses as a parent....
How I wish Mukhriz Mahathir is the Education Minister !!!

a l i said...

we still do rely on the government right? by your post here i assume that one of the way to save our younger generation from being bluntly dependable on their one and only mother tongue is by changing the minister of education? even with issues like this? do ministers need to be changed? are we too minority to be opinionated? or is this just another clumsy decision made by the yep ministers? heh aint easy to be a minister rite? heheh.. maybe theres some other way that we the little 'rakyat' could do in order to ease this issue, next elections maybe i'd vote for mukhriz (if only i could)

by the way this is my first blog encounter with a person which have quite a very i must say sensible way of thinking (never thought about Mukhriz being education minister heheh but that is genius seriously)

DESS said...

Mukhriz should have been the Education Minister if he had won the Youth Head (which in fact he won it, but something fishy happened). PM Najib had no choice but had to elect Muhyiddin instead of KJ. If Mukhriz had been the Education Minister, he would have continued the vision his father had laid... Then, Malaysia will become the "Center of Education" the whole world would look into.
But..., we will have to wait for the next Cabinet reshuffle...

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