Survey Shows Most Malaysians Want Teaching of Maths, Science in English

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A think tank says most Malaysians are supportive of the proposal to teach Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) but it’s the politicians that are not on the same page.

EMIR Research director Jamari Mohtar said its inaugural survey announced on Nov 28 last year showed that the teaching of Science and Maths in English is among the top five issues that respondents supported.

The other issues included combating corruption in government agencies and having honest and efficient civil servants.

“From the findings, there seems to be an agreement among Malaysians in general over the PPSMI implementation,” he said when met at the Regional Conference on Peaceful Coexistence here.

EMIR Research also found that 51% of respondents in urban areas agreed with the implementation of the PPSMI while 43% of those in rural areas supported it.

“But the way English is used to teach in rural areas should be different from urban areas.

“Teachers need to adjust their methods. The curriculum must not be implemented exactly as in urban areas,” Jamari said.

He also urged the government to stick to one approach and stop dilly-dallying over the PPSMI implementation.

Citing Singapore as an example, Jamari said: “Although 75% of Singaporeans are Chinese and logically speaking, the medium of instruction should be Mandarin, they used English instead.

“This is because they are realistic enough to know that English is the lingua franca of the world.”

UCSI University’s Prof Tajuddin Rasdi, however, said there was no need for a different teaching format for rural and urban areas in Peninsular Malaysia.

“I don’t see much difference between Malays in rural and urban areas in Peninsular Malaysia as both have access to technology, smartphones and WiFi. Therefore, there’s no need for a different format of teaching.

“However, it’s a different story for East Malaysians in rural areas and indigenous people,” he said.

Tajuddin wanted the government to give East Malaysians in rural areas and indigenous people a “leeway” as their schools still lacked facilities and accessibility.

“The government must not expect the same standard as students from Peninsular Malaysia,” he added.

He also urged the government to provide teachers that would be sensitive to their culture or able to speak their language.

Tajuddin proposed teaching strategies to make the re-implementation of PPSMI better – schools must create an English-speaking culture whether it is in the classroom, assembly or simply conversing with each other.

The government needs to spend money on hiring unemployed graduates with English proficiency as teaching assistants, just like what the UK does with their education system, he added.

Tajuddin urged schools to focus more on English proficiency by providing more reading materials. – FMT