The plan to upgrade Malaysia's education system should include upgrading the
teaching of English
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw
(Kuala Lumpur, Friday):
, The Indians in India continue to
use English as the official language and the Chinese in China have
English lessons for the masses. Scandinavians, Belgians, Dutch and
others often speak English fluently.
While we have to master our mother tongue, we must be proficient in
other languages especially English.
In our polyglot society, we ask the Government to treat schools of all
streams fairly. We encourage the mastery of many languages. We found
it unacceptable that the Government systematically expunged English
from 1970. By the early 80s, English schools were eradicated. The DAP
was vilified for championing the preservation of English in addition
to mother tongue.
To call a spade a spade, I remember Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad spoke in
Parliament in the 80s on the importance of English. Nevertheless, for
various reasons, he was caught up in the system that only stressed
Bahasa Malaysia. Perhaps, he should let us know what was he up against
Yesterday, Tun Mahathir rehashed his view on English at the Ninth MSC
International Advisory Panel meeting, by saying:
"There is a need for English to be completely mastered because the
instructions are no longer going to be simple.
"It is unfortunate perhaps for the language nationalists but that is
the reality today. They must not blight the future generations by
objecting to the mastery and usage of the English language. They must
not obstruct Malaysia's progress and development."
Some of the 18 public universities are dithering on the conversion
from BM to English in the teaching of Maths and science. Students who
learn English Maths and Science at Sixth Form are in practical dilemma
when they enrol in universities that are not ready to offer English
Maths and Science.
We need better methods, better teachers and lecturers in the teaching
of English and other subjects using English as the medium such as
Maths and Science.
Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National
Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong