Two days ago, an article from Malaysia’s The Star stated that English-medium schools is very unlikely to happen on Malaysian soil. As a blogger, I cannot help but be shocked at the news but at the same time feel sorry for Malaysians who not only speak English as a mother tongue but also want what is best for their children and grandchildren when it comes to learning English.
From what I am told by many Malaysians living overseas or living on Malaysian soil, the standard of English has been dropping for the past 30 years and sadly, not many younger generations of Malaysia could string a perfect sentence in English, written or orally unlike their older counterpart who grew up during the colonial era pre-1957, the 1960s and 1970s. Once upon a time, colonial Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak (before it became Malaysia in 1963) used to be the cream of the crop of Southeast Asia where most people saw learning English as a gateway to better opportunities and further education in life. Which would explain why the older generations of Malaysia could speak and write better English than their younger counterparts. Before I forget, there were many English-medium schools in those good old days of Malaysia (before 1980) until they were done away with around 1980 by a rigid national education policy. Sadly, I cannot say the same for most Malaysia youngsters in this day and age.
With PAGE (Parent Action Group for Education) coming into Malaysian headlines many times repeatedly over the PPSMI policy issue, I couldn’t agree more with PAGE (good on PAGE for fighting this battle) making a point that the policy of teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science in English is beneficial for Malaysian kids ( to give them the edge to compete internationally in the fields of sciences and mathematics). Secondly, I also agree that the policy should remain to give Malaysian children the right to learn Mathematics and Science in English especially those whose English is their mother tongue. Dr. Lan Boon Leong, featured in StarEducation article, made an excellent point that the present Malaysian education system does not cater for Malaysians whose mother tongue or first language is English.
A politician claiming it is impossible for them to set up national English-medium schools unless changes are made to the policy and the National Education Act (1996) is nothing but a load of crock. An education policy can be changed according to what Malaysian citizens want best for their children rather than change it according to the politicians’ and policy-makers’ whim and fancy as if they are changing costumes for some colourful festival many times in a day. Secondly, Malaysian schoolchildren are NOT (I repeat not) guinea pigs to be experimented with over some sudden and unannounced education policy changes! For goodness sake, this is unfair on Malaysian children.
As a blogger, I say let English-medium schools be set up on Malaysian soil for the children and younger generation of Malaysia. Just because having a national or state English-medium school for Malaysian children does NOT mean they are going to become Westernised or corrode local Malaysian cultures. Whoever says having an English-medium school is going to threaten local cultures of Malaysia or turn a Malaysian child into a fake Westerner is actually talking nonsense. English is a global language commonly used in medicine, sciences, entertainment, media, law, diplomacy, commerce and politics. So, stop with this whole politically-correct nonsense and let Malaysian parents have the right to put their children in an English-medium schools. The same goes for ‘minority’ Malaysian children whose English is their mother tongue or first language. That is totally unfair on them. Why can’t some people just get real and accept that English as a global language is a gateway for their children to be able to compete internationally? Lastly, I want to say this: Do these people not realise that allowing Malaysian children to become fluent in written and spoken English as well as learning maths and sciences in English actually help them to cope as university students when they choose to study in an overseas university where English is the medium of instruction?
What says you about setting up national English-medium schools in Malaysia? Do you think or believe it will benefit ‘minority’ Malaysians whose English is their mother tongue or first language? Do you think the Malaysian education policy needs to be flexible to accept change especially with the English-medium schools issue? Opinions are welcome (but no profanity please!)