Friday, July 10, 2009

Bite the Bullet!!!

True, I don’t normally blog about current events (correction, I don’t) mainly because I lived like a ‘katak bawah tempurung’ and never, ever opened the newspaper. However, I’ve been making conscious effort to do so after the recent debate competition.

And boy, oh boy am I mad.

After 6 years of teaching Maths and Science in English, they are reverting to Bahasa Melayu again. Yes, after just 6 short years, they decided that the teaching of Maths and Science was better conducted using the medium Bahasa Melayu. Not only that, while I was reading today’s paper just before going for my flute exam, I came across the most ludicrous statement.

In the Star paper 10/7/09, Najib says that ‘Increasing the time allocated to teaching English. Introducing English literature and language laboratories, among others, would be a better method in boosting proficiency in the language than using it to teach Mathematics and Science’.

Now, the dubious logic behind this presents two flaws. First, English lessons as it is merely serve as ‘homework-completion’ times and not many teachers actually teach English in a way that is interesting and more importantly, INFORMATIVE. Classes can end up being a drag. Imagine if they increase lesson times! I too don’t understand what our Prime Minister meant by ‘introducing English literature’. English Literature is already introduced into the SPM line-up of subjects. (I would know – I’m taking that subject). Not to mention the literature component of PMR and SPM English. Never mind the fact that literature component is a laughing stock (I think I just had an idea on another blog post). Fine, if we want to ‘introduce English literature’, can they assure us that the standard of English will be heightened? That it won’t be lowered just to enable passes? Let’s not talk about being on par with countries overseas, let’s just think about raising the dismal standard of Malaysian English.

Second, most of the English scientific terms are reused in Bahasa Melayu anyway! As someone told me before, ‘I don’t need to have a wide vocabulary in Bahasa Melayu to score in my ‘karangan’. I just need a good vocabulary in English’. Too that, I have to agree. Encyclopedias, journals, researches, they are all written in English. By switching to BM, students will have to double work during projects. Not only do they have to look up information, they have to translate it as well. And after learning for 11 years in BM, they are expected to revert back to English in time for Form 6. Doesn’t the government see how ridiculous their decision is?

No, they say that, ‘The lack of proficiency in English among the teachers had resulted in ineffective learning among students.’ (Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom). Knowing that is the case, why are the students being penalized? Shouldn’t steps be taken to increase proficiency among TEACHERS? Or, is reverting to BM an easy way out?

To that, I say, bite the bullet.

We’re going to have to bite the bullet and sweat it out. We want progress, there is a price. Why switch after just 6 years? It doesn’t take a genius to know that it would take a lot more time to accurately gauge the successfulness of a decision. Why, it hasn’t even touched a decade! True, it may be difficult but as the MALAY proverb goes, ‘Berakit-rakit ke hulu, berenang-renang ke tepian; bersusah-susah dahulu, bersenang-senang kemudian’. You say Bahasa Malaysia should be upholded, well, uphold your very own proverbs then.

It’s easy for the government of today to make this decision because the people who made the decision won’t be around to see its effects. It’s going to be the future generation who will see it. And this is why I am frustrated and disappointed. We always take 2 steps forwards and 5 steps backwards.

For our future generation, for progress…


P.S Note to self, don’t read the papers during a stressful situation i.e. just before flute exam. The next time, I’ll end up with a popped blood vessel.

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