MATH AND SCIENCE SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN ENGLISH
I strongly agree with this motion because each of us must be given an equal chance to taste the best education in this country. Each of the students has the right to enjoy the best knowledge. However, we have to change our mindset first. We must understand that getting an “A” does not guarantee success as positive characters can greatly affect a person’s achievements in life. If we teach both subjects in Malay, they may understand the subject.
However, their critical thinking skills will be reduced as they are so comfortable with the first language that the absence of English language will keep the mind idle. An idle mind cannot breed thinkers in our country. The saddest part is the subjects are taught in English in universities locally and globally. The worst part is the vacancies for critical jobs in the government sector are rather very limited. The graduates have no choice but to look for vacancies at international or national companies. Who controls these international companies? Who runs these international companies? We have to answer these questions before we make any decision before we start teaching Math and Science in Malay.
Now let me talk about Science. Who controls the findings of many things in this world? Malaysians? Singaporeans? Canadians? Australians? Americans? Europeans? I bet you know the answer. These findings are basically written in English. If we use English to teach Science, we can equip our students with a lot of latest findings as long as Science is concerned. I don’t like to miss the bus. How about you? Do you like it? If you like it, keep your denial mode. If you don’t like it, do something about it.
Another challenge that we have to deal with is the teachers. Let us play with these critical questions. Are the teachers ready to bring changes? Are the teachers ready to get out of the comfort zone? Are the teachers positive enough to face the unexpected challenges? Are the teachers ready to learn again, or to start from zero? Are the teachers ready to criticize themselves? How many teachers love the language? How many teachers still believe that this language is a language of the sickening and bleeding past?
I do hope that all of us will sit down and discuss this matter from heart to heart for the sake of our children. Organize an open debate about this. If the poor is not given a chance to learn Science and Math in English, as they grow up, they will be governed by fear as English will be more horrifying than GHOST. If the rich is given the best education, the conflicts between the poor and the rich will be deeper and bloodier than ever.
I believe that Malay Language is a language that is meant to unite us while English is a language that helps us to stay relevant, competitive, adaptable, rational, critical, important, sharp, intelligent, wise, positive and etc. in order to survive successfully in this world if we were to consider this world as our stage. We don’t have a choice but to like things that we dislike in order to create a versatile human capital.
Based on my own experiences, English is language that helps me to stay ahead of others as the ability to use this language helps me to understand the chronology of many important events that happen yesterday, today and events that may happen in the future.
I am an Iban. If I were to expect others to use and respect my language, the Ibans must first get the world to recognize the Ibans. The Ibans must do well in politic, economy and social in order to get the world to respect the Iban language. The same thing goes to other languages. We have to earn the respect and recognition. We cannot force the world to respect our language if we have nothing to share with the world. Take Japanese language for example. Why is this language being offered in many schools and universities? The main reason is because there are so many great qualities that Japanese people have that the world have no choice but to learn from them.
The Japanese mindset is like this. They can make anything out of nothing. If you teach them to make something, they can make that something into everything. For example, they learn how to make engine from the Americans. Gradually, they come up with their own engine which is better than the American engine and their products have made this world a beautiful place through their great and beautiful creations. That kind of mindset can help us Malaysians to be on par or perhaps better than the other developing and developed countries. One of the most effective ways is by mastering the English language.
The first benefit of learning English language is this language can enhance your critical thinking skills. As English is considered as your second language, you have no choice but to work hard to understand the grammar and learn how to use it correctly and effectively. The pain and struggle that you have to go though while understanding the vocabulary will help you to be a critical thinker as you don’t actually realize that you are making your mind shaper than before.
The second benefit is it helps you to be the world or international player. The ability to master English language helps you to be more marketable as you are bilingual. These international companies will definitely look for you as they believe that if you understand the medium of instruction used in the company, mistakes especially in terms of communication breakdown can be reduced because you, your colleagues and your employer speak the same language. No matter how excellent your result is, if you don’t speak their language, you will always miss the opportunities.
The third benefit of being able to speak and write good English is you will gain respect from people around you. This respect comes naturally especially to those who can really speak and write good English. If you speak good English, it shows that you have the ability to ask a lot of deadly and critical questions. English is a language that can help you to get out of the prison of fear. English is the language that can help make a better you. We must never hate the English for what they have done in the past because we can never change the past. We should also prevent ourselves from digging the past as digging the past is equal to digging our graveyard. We should learn and master their language in order to create a greater understanding and respect between us. We, Malaysians have to EARN that RESPECT and RECOGNITION.
The fourth benefit of acquiring English language is you will be able to improve yourself psychologically, physically, mentally and spiritually because these developed countries particularly the English speaking countries spend a lot of money on research. The findings of this research will greatly benefit us if we speak their language. This research is meant to make our lives better than yesterday. For example, the hot item called “I-pad or I-phone”. This product is the result of years of research by the late Steve Jobs and his friends. Who is using this technology? All of us. This brilliant product will inspire other production companies to work harder but they have to master the language in order to understand everything they need to know about the technology. The secret is of course has to be revealed through English language.
Let me give you another example. Most of the reading materials are written in English. If I were to use new strategies to teach English, I can look for the information easily online. I can pick any strategy that I want. However, if I can’t speak and write good English, my teaching strategy will remain stagnant, irrelevant, backdated, traditional, chalk and talk, boring and etc. Having the ability to use the language effectively helps each of us to be more independent and knowledgeable. There is a lot of self-help books and e-books online. If you understand the language, you can master a lot of skills that you thought was impossible before. Furthermore, the videos uploaded in the YouTube can be a very useful assistance to help you understand a particular subject.
It is not wrong to love our language. However, we have to be realistic about how the world looks at us. We must know where we stand in this world. We must know our ranking. If we believe that we have given so much to this world, I don’t mind if Math and Science are taught in Malay. However, if we believe that we have not shared enough with the rest of the world and we believe that we are still a student who has to learn a lot, then Math and Science should be taught in English. Thank you for reading. (Originally written by: Mani ak Jack 9/5/2012)