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Media Statement by Dr. Tan Seng Giaw in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 10 July 2009:

Better training system for the teachers

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to review the teacher training system including postgraduate training scheme to ensure the quality of teachers such as English, Mathematics and Science teachers.

There are 27 teachers' training institutes. The system of training must be improved.

On 10.7.2009, Dr Tan comments on the Prime Minister's aim of making Malaysians more proficient in English after going back to the policy to use Bahasa Malaysia to teach Science and Mathematics. The Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on 8.7.2009 that the teaching of the two subjects would be reverted to mother tongue instead of English.

After Tun Mahathir implemented the teaching of Science and Mathematics using English in 2003, the scraping of the policy after six years and over 3 billion ringgit gives rise to complications such as teachers and students taking some time to get used to using mother tongue for the two subjects.

The reversion to the original method will begin in 2012. Is the period of three years used to overcome the complications arising from the change in policy?

We would like the standard of education including English, Science and Maths to go up. The Edcuation Act talks about attaining world standard.

People such as Tun Mahathir do not like it. Certain organizations such as the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and the Dong Jiao Zhong welcome the change. After teaching Science and Maths in English for six years, the standard of English goes up by 3% and the standard of Science and Maths does not go up much, if any. There are many factors that include the quality of teachers. The Government should make known these factors.

There is a formula 2-4-3 for Chinese schools: 2 periods of English, 4 Maths and 3 Science per week. How does the Education Ministry deal with this?

While there are good teachers, the standard of some need to be improved. Out of 386,000 teachers in the country, 67,000 are English teachers. Some can scarcely speak English.

The Government wants to increase the number of English teachers by 13,933, totalling 81,413. This includes 1,000 foreign teachers and 500 retired teachers. Whether it is local or foreign teachers, the most important thing is that they must be competent.

* Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, DAP Deputy Chairman & MP for Kepong



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