From the Letters section from today's The Sun, entitled Time to drop linguistic shackles
The statements made by ‘A Humble Educationist’ ("Keep English for Science and Maths", Sept 3) are disturbing.***** Do you agree or disagree with this gentleman's views?
He should explain, unemotionally and rationally, what he meant by "racial politics" in the education policy. And, if teaching of science and mathematics in the national language of Malaysia is "an irrational" policy, is Humble Educationist saying that the teaching of the subjects in English in this country (not in Britain or America) is a "rational policy"?
Some of the best scientists and heart specialists in Malaysia are the products of the national education system.
I know of a number of brilliant mathematics professors who taught mathematics fluently in Malay in our universities.
After 2003, they were forced to teach the subject in English, much against their wish.
The result of the switch from Malay to English in the teaching of science and maths in the national schools is very damaging to hundreds of thousands of students, especially those in the rural areas, not because they are no good in the subjects but because they are taught in a language that they are weak in. It’s like asking English boys and girls in England to do maths or science in Malay which they are not conversant in.
A number of independent studies by rational scholars have been made on the huge damage that the switch has done to our students.
The writer said that English is "a known language of science and technology".
Is English the language of science and technology in Europe, in Russia, in Japan, in South Korea, or even in Thailand and Indonesia, and in many other countries which have made great strides in science and technology?
If you think that only the Malays are "irrational" because they are against the teaching of the subjects in English, ask the Chinese if they also wholeheartedly support the "irrational decison" to teach the same subjects in English in the national-type Chinese schools. I know that the Chinese community reject the decision.
If well-educated and qualified Malaysians are deprived of jobs or opportunites for development in this country simply because they can’t communicate well in English, then this is what some Western scholars call "English linguistic imperialism" or "the colonisation of the English language" especially in former British colonies.
If this is globalisation, then I think the government has the moral and political right to stop it in the interest of the rakyat and the nation.
Dr Hassan Ahmad Petaling Jaya
Labels: Controversy, Malaysia - Education.