When it comes to education, we should be blind-folded in terms of political ideologies, personal interests and political interests. Whether the Teaching of Mathematics and Sciences in English (PPSMI) is a good option or is a wrong move, it should be discussed rationally by the politicians, academicians and parents. We cannot put our next generation future at stake.
I do support PPSMI policy at the beginning for the reason of low level of English proficiency in Malaysia. One of the ways to improve the command of English among our future leaders is by making them to study Mathematics and Sciences in English. By doing so, students have no choice other than mastering the language. Even in universities, most of the students do refer to books which are written in English. So, I do not have much problem about that. Anyway, there are people who support PPSMI and people who against PPSMI. Some of them feel that we should protect our national language as enshrined in our Constitution, Article 152. I concede to the fact that Bahasa Malaysia is our national language. No one can deny about that. But we should understand that even if PPSMI is being implemented, the medium of studying is primary and secondary school is still Malay language. True, English does take a portion of the roles played by Malay language. Anyhow, we need to understand that we have to sacrifice a portion of our national language in order to make our future generations have a better command of English. This can be drawn parallel to a nation’s sovereignty. In the study of International Relations, there isn’t any absolute sovereignty for any nations anymore. When there is cooperation between two or more countries, these countries have to compromise in order to achieve the benefits of cooperation.
However, after I went to a small village in Kampung Timah, Perak, I do realise that PPSMI is not as ideal as I thought of. It might be a good policy for urban students because majority of the urban students can understand the language if not excellent in it. But in rural areas, most of them can’t understand the language well. Some of them can’t even understand a simple text written in English. If that is the case, how are they going to understand more complicated Mathematics and Sciences in English? I even met with a student who is excellent in Mathematics when he was in primary school. By that time, the medium of study for him is Chinese. He often score 90 marks and above in his Mathematics. But when he is in secondary school, he often fails his Mathematics paper. The reason for that is he can’t understand English. Therefore, he does not understand the questions asked. This is my main concern for the rural areas students.
My stand for PPSMI will be an aye only if the government can solve the problem of rural students. For the moment, I feel that it is more important to help students in mastering English rather than “dancing at the street” (quoted from my Pengajian Am tutor).