Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More and More Support for PPSMI..

Hmmm.. now, more and more voices are heard from the public on the benefits of PPSMI (Learning Science and Maths in English)... Apart from the local newspapers, I've received positive comments in my Blog. Let's see them:

syazeleen said... 
Many of those who seek to abolish the PPSMI policy argue that if countries like Japan and Germany can succeed by using their national language, why can't we?

There's a simple answer. During the developing years of these countries, technology advanced gradually. '

Totally agree. The Japanese and Chinese don't just change spellings (karbohidrat comes to mind). It's not a matter of just translating textbooks. It has more to do with using their own language to describe scientific matters. They come up with their own vocabulary. Research and teaching goes hand in hand, but since the powers-that-be over here doesn't seem inclined to acknowledge this, we're doomed.

*A bit melodramatic at the end. But I'm just annoyed at these people. I wished I had my SPM Science and Math in English. Would've made my life a lot easier* 

Lov3 Timor L3st3 said... Timor Leste case is more complecate then Malaysia, we use 4 languages ( tetum and Portuguese as official languages and Indonesia and English as working languages. but personal opion better we adopt English.. 

R.S., Petaling Jaya, Selangor

I REFER to the letter "BM is soul of the nation" by Professor Dr Norhashimah Jalaluddin, president of the Malaysian Linguistic Society (NST, April 19).
While Bahasa Malaysia may have helped to develop the country, one must consider Malaysia on the global stage.

Is it really that different to strike a balance between the preservation of an aspect of our national identity and merging it with a globalised culture? I think not.

The writer said patriotism could be proved by answering this question: who is deemed more patriotic -- citizens who wish for their own national language to be the medium of instruction or citizens who reject their country's national language?
Excuse me, but I boast about the beautiful aspects of Malaysia to people I meet, wherever they are from, and tell them about how proud I am of the nationality that I bear. Do these not make me patriotic?

Simply because of my choice of learning Science and Mathematics in English, have I "rejected" my country's national language? Strong words, indeed.

Let us take a look once more at our national education system. As far as memory serves, I recall having BM classes every day in school; and History (Sejarah), Geography (Geografi), Moral and other subjects were all taught in BM, too.

In fact, English was only used during the English Language, Mathematics and Science classes.

Is it fair to sideline parents who prioritise English over BM and tell them that they have to choose private or international schools for their child's educational needs? Not all can afford it.

BM is confined to smaller borders, whether we like it or not. I agree that BM is part of our national heritage and pride, and I for one find it extremely useful in daily situations.

English is a global language and the faster we accept that, the faster we can develop as a nation. I am not dismissing BM as the "soul of the nation", I am, however, emphasising the importance of English as an educational tool.

Language is not the "only" factor in the socio-economic development of a nation. There are a multitude of other factors equally as important and ignorance would inevitably result in a premature conclusion. I quote film director Federico Fellini: "A different language is a different vision of life".

The Malaysian community has the capacity to advance with the help of not just BM and English but Mandarin and Tamil, as well. Let us draw strength from that diversity. 

SYED AZAUDDIN, Gombak, Selangor

English: It's the lingua franca, professor

PROFESSOR Dr Norhashimah Jalaluddin's letter "BM is soul of the nation" (NST, April 19) is interesting but not based on facts, whether historical or current.
The professor accused the Parent Action Group for Education (Page), which advocates English as a medium of instruction for the teaching of Science and Mathematics, as a "small group lacking in patriotism towards the national language".

What does she mean by "patriotism towards the national language?" To me, patriotism means "devotion to one's country", that is, self-inclination for the well-being of fellow citizens.

This comprises many aspects, such as making efforts towards peace and prosperity of one's nation, ensuring that one's country is well regarded internationally and nullifying any threats, both from internal and external sources, that could jeopardise the safety and security of the nation.
Certainly, preference for English instead of Bahasa Malaysia in the teaching of Science and Mathematics does not render one unpatriotic.

Those who advocate English as a medium of instruction for these two critical subjects can instead be said to be more patriotic than those who insist on Bahasa Malaysia.

These English-for-Science-and- Mathematics advocates have in mind the welfare of Malaysian children, who have to live in a world that is becoming more and more globalised, with English becoming the lingua franca.

Norhashimah quoted Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statement in 1987, that "practice is the proof of whether or not we love the national language".

She may have forgotten that it was Dr Mahathir himself who introduced the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English, and for patriotic reasons, too.

In his memoirs, A Doctor in the House, Dr Mahathir gave many valid reasons for advocating English as the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics.

For example, the dynamism of the two subjects (in theory and/or application) and the changes are documented in English, the relative slowness of these changes to be translated into Bahasa Malaysia, and the possibility of Malaysian students being left behind in the acquisition of this knowledge if they are not able to keep up with the scientific literature, which is in English.

He concludes, rightfully, by saying, "for these reasons, I strongly support the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English. Malaysians must be knowledgeable in Science and Mathematics if we wish to achieve Vision 2020".

Page and those supporting PPSMI are not asking for the abolition of Bahasa Malaysia altogether in schools, but only that the teaching of Science and Mathematics be in English and only for the reasons outlined by Dr Mahathir.

Therefore, for Norhashimah to say that those who are in favour of English are unpatriotic is both inappropriate and uncalled for.

It is also irrelevant for her to say that the English language, in the historical context, was a "denigrated language, inferior to the other languages of knowledge, such as Arabic , Greek and Latin".

The hard reality is that at present, English is accepted as the language of science and technology, international relations (it is one of the six international languages used in the United Nations) and diplomacy, and tourism. It is spoken by almost one billion people worldwide.

To me, those who fight for Bahasa Malaysia without considering the realities on the ground are not "patriotic" per se, but more "nationalistic", and this may not necessarily be good for a multicultural nation like Malaysia.

In modern times, no nation "is an island by itself". Every nation has to have active interrelationships with other nations to survive, and English is the language for international communication.

At present, all great nations where English is not the mother tongue -- for example, China, Japan, Russia and Middle Eastern countries -- are sending their young children to study English in countries where English is the mother tongue or where English is widely taught, such as Malaysia and Singapore, by the plane-loads.

The question is: which language poses the least difficulty in ensuring the best education possible for our children?

Norhashimah gave examples of nations in Africa and the South Pacific, and the Philippines that have failed to achieve progress and development even though they had English or French as the mediums of instruction in their schools.

I am not sure whether this failure is because of the foreign languages they used in their respective education systems, or the failure of their socio-economic and political systems, which effectively retarded the teaching of these languages in their schools.

Civil wars, abject poverty, lack of infrastructure, etc, are the main reasons for the lack of progress in the nations mentioned.

I would like to also point out to Norhashimah that the 100,000 people she claimed marched to Istana Negara on March 7, 2009 to submit a memorandum to support the cause of "Bahasa Malaysia for Science and Mathematics only" may not be representative of Malaysians as a whole.

A recent poll conducted by the independent Merdeka Center showed that 58 per cent of Malaysians wanted English to remain the language of instruction for Science and Mathematics.

Lastly, she should accept the fact that the growth of a language like Bahasa Malaysia is not frustrated by the popularity of another language, like English.

K.T. MARAN, Seremban, Negri Sembilan

English: Be pragmatic and give parents an option 

I REFER to the letter "BM is soul of the nation" (NST, April 19) by Professor Dr Norhashimah Jalaluddin.
On the calls by those wanting Science and Mathematics to be taught in English, she said: "This will create social dichotomy and dualism, which defeats the purpose of having a unifying national language."

During the time when English was the medium of instruction, was there dualism and social dichotomy? We were actually more united then.

Knowing Bahasa Malaysia will allow a person to survive only in Malaysia. Do those who are anti-English want to create such a situation in a globalised world? Do they want to prevent Malaysia from becoming a global player?
I was amused by her argument that those advocating the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English showed a lack of patriotism.

I wonder how a person can become unpatriotic just by being not proficient in Bahasa Malaysia or by studying in English.

Unity does not come only through the use of the national language. There are economic, social, cultural and spiritual factors that unite mankind.

Let our thoughts be world-embracing, so that we will become global citizens. Let us be pragmatic, not narrow-minded.

Those who think that unity and patriotism will only come through the use of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction can send their children to schools that use BM. Those who wish to have their children learn Science and Mathematics in English instead should be allowed to do so.

Well, well, well....  As I've promised, I'll update the latest development on this issue frequently...
Have a nice day...


Anonymous said...

Don't just read the English-language media. Read also BM and all other vernacular media for yourself. Tell me why PKR and PAS are vehemently against the policy. (jangan buat tak tahu!) The downfall of PPSMI is also due to the policy-maker's utter failure to convince the public that the greater role given to English will not erode BM and so on. For example, in cyberspace. Why is Maybank's website not in BM? Why is Maxis's website not in BM, only English? This is one obvious but much-ignored example of how they'd think we're side-lining BM for English. Don't you think this is going to further disenfranchise the Malay masses from English? Ever thought why we hardly got foreign teachers for PPSMI?

We can't blame the rural Malays for lagging behind. It's us, the "berlagak" Anglophile urbanites (as they see it) which made matters worse when it comes to promoting English. Even the Americans, Australians and British feel deeply ashamed to be native English speakers upon hearing about PPSMI.

Thankfully some foreign companies have tried to soothe their anguish over the language issue. For example, Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, NGC, and so on now have their English-language content DUBBED (not subtitled) in BM. Don't fret, I feel this is an important step to improve the image of English, though it ain't straightforward.

The Chinese and Koreans are overtaking us in English proficiency without having to be taught English through Science and Maths. If they had PPSMI there'd be massive political fallouts.

LESSON: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If you wanna promote English, show respect to the local lingo first. Enough of this belligerence. Those Esperantists may not have been kidding after all: English is the lingua franca of today, but NOT the ideal one.

DESS said...

State your name if you're brave enough to discuss this issue. Don't be a chicken !!!
1. I write my stuff based on facts and figures.
2. I am a Malay and I read Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia almost everyday.
3. I am a teacher and have been teaching for 32 years.
4. I get my facts from my ex-students - first hand facts on PPSMI.
5. We are talking on PPSMI, not English as a subject. I think you got everything WRONG here... It is through PPSMI, we are helping our future generations to be on par with the rest of the world..
6. Have the courtesy to travel and see for yourself what's going on around the world.
7. Don't involve politics, esp. the PKR and PAS into education... They are moving backwards !!!
8. YOUR QUOTE: the Chinese and Koreans are overtaking us in English proficiency without PPSMI. There you are !! You are taking about English, not Science and Maths !!
9. Thank you for reading my Blog...., he, he....

lu kiasu said...

dude, your arguments aren't doing PPSMI any justice. it's like your eyes were too heavy to read the details. besides, you haven't read my arguments thoroughly. you want my "name", there you have it. and it doesn't describe me a bit; it's a "mirror" for you.

Tolonglah belajar dari kesilapan. At first I supported (even after I left school) but as time passed, I knew something had gone terribly wrong with the idea, implementation and everything.

DESS said...

Lu kiasu is not your real name. Why the disguise?? Afraid to face reality? Put your real name and face the facts!!! Don't call me names and please have respect to your elders !!!
When you left school, you supported PPSMI. And when was that? You knew something went terribly wrong with the idea, implementation ??? Who are you to judge this??? Are you an educator? If not - you have NO say !!!! I am.., and I have my say.

I have lots of my students studying overseas now... and they really, really appreciate PPSMI. It really help them in their studies. Facts and figures - and that's what I rely on...
I have students (who study overseas) who didn't went thro' the PPSMI (before 2003) and they said they struggled during their studies... Facts and figures I rely on...

So, my views are based on facts and figures and NOT sentiments. That's what I put in my Blogs.
I'm sorry if you disagree..., but I state the facts.
And don't put politics into education. You'll regret it. Maybe not you, your children will !!!
That's all..
Have a nice day...

tukangkata said...

Just came across this blog post while I was looking for info on Esperanto in Malaysia.

Here's a nice read for all of ya (let's see if your command of BM is still intact): http://tukangantarabahasa.blogspot.com/2011/03/salah-faham-bahasa-inggeris.html

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