Those championing the Malay language should put aside nationalist pride to allow science and mathematics to be taught in English.
The government is making an in-depth study of a new system of teaching science and mathematics in English, with the lessons recorded by the best teachers replicated in every school through information technology, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this way of teaching and learning science and mathematics in English will enable all pupils and students to benefit from the competency of these expert teachers.
“In this way, all pupils and students will achieve an almost similar outcome,” he said during the Ministers’ Question Time when replying to a question from Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) who had wanted to know whether there will a reintroduction of the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English.
Dr Mahathir said the Education Ministry also takes into account the importance of mastering teaching and learning in English because it is an international language, is necessary for management and enterprise and is considered when offering employment.
“Unlike geography and history, knowledge in science keeps growing all the time as a result of research by experts which is usually conducted not in the Malay language. English is important in mastering new knowledge,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the translation into the Malay language cannot be done unless it is by the experts who understand the new knowledge that has to be translated.
He also said that the National Education Advisory Council has also provided its insights on the policy of teaching and learning science and mathematics in the English language.
“There are many who want science and mathematics to be taught in English, and there are also those who insist it must continue to be taught in Malay,” he said.
The policy, which was introduced in 2003, was replaced with the policy on ‘Enhancing Bahasa Malaysia, Strengthening the English Language’ in stages from 2010.
Dr Mahathir emphasised that the search for new knowledge, including artificial intelligence, can drive Malaysia into becoming a developed nation.
However, he said, this can only be done through the mastery of the English language because only those who have mastered English are conducting such research.
“The nationalistic spirit may spur us to retain our language but, if we remain uninformed, our nation and our language will not progress,” he said.