In almost every social function attended and even at home, although it has disappeared from the newspaper headlines but it is an issue that is still widely debated and discussed… should students learn mathematics and science in English? WHY?

Yes, because it is a subject that will affect our children and future generation and the insecurity of losing our mother tongue Bahasa Malaysia. Malaysians are very insecure indeed. Insecure about losing Bahasa Malaysia if we learn Mathematics and science in English, insecure about losing our ‘aqidah’ or (muslim belief) if muslims practice Yoga (even if the chanting was in Hindu that muslim dont understand?) and many other insecurities that is never exhaustive.

Personally, I don’t believe that Bahasa Malaysia will ever disappear even if the whole language in our education system is changed to English. I am privileged to have travelled to some developed countries worldwide and everywhere I went, the local Chinese still speak fluent Chinese although they have been a British or American citizen for the past many generations. Why are we so concern with learning mathematics and science in English when the Chinese-British or the Chinese-American, although they have studied everything from pre-school to university in English and yet, are fluent in their mother tounge chinese language (in their respective dialect).

Having gone through the Malaysia primary and secondary education until SRP (Sijil Rendah pelajaran or Lower Certificate of Education) and took the British General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) instead of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or Malaysia Cetificate of Education (MCE), I had major language barrier with pursuing my study for the GCSE, GCE A’ level and during University. The Malay terms and jargons that I learn thus far until SRP/LCE were alien to my further education.

The importance of whichever language to study mathematics, science or any other subject for that matter is subjective but what is more important is the availability and the quality of our teachers. The change in language for students to learn in English is secondary compare to teacher’s ability to teach in English. Students adapt better to changes and learn faster than adult but the teacher to learn and teach in English…?

The Sekolah Kebangsaan QUALITY of teaching with the current generic and standard syllabus in Bahasa malaysia is already in quesrion. Most of the students now had to attend various additional tuition classes for most of the subjects taught at Sekolah Kebangsaan. The availability of teachers is another issue with an alarming teacher to student ratio.

Having gone through, partly, both the Malaysia and British education system, I am in favour of learning Mathematics and Science in English. However, a more urgent issue that needed to be address is the AVAILABILITY of teachers to reduce the teacher to student ratio @ sekolah kebangsaan and the teaching QUALITY of these teachers.

Rather than changing the language that will create and add more problems, we should at first tackle and address the present and current issues at large. Malaysia needed MORE teachers and more training to improve our teachers in Malaysia. Perhaps, the government should extend a better remuneration package or better perks to attract more interest to teach our future generations and future leaders.



  1. dont you think our kids in sek. keb. is learning below their mental ability compare if learning in Malay? I think they will have greater understanding in Malay..imagine kids as young as 7 yrs old. some even have difficulty in spelling their name and it is expected them to learn science and math in english? Unless you are from well-off family, spending extra ringgit every month for tuition wouldnt be a problems, even you can afford home tuition. I personally don't agree and findings or reports by government agencies on the success of teaching math & science in english could be bias to the governing government. We need independent researchers and findings since lots of thing have been politicize in our beloved countries..

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  2. children especially in primary school are able to comprehend and adapt learning better than adult.

    it is not about the child's ability to comprehend, it is the teacher's ABILITY to communicate and teach that i question.

    Most parents who can afford, has to spend thousand of Rinngit and hours of after-school-time to send their children to addtitional tuition. those who cant afford are deprived of quality education because...?

    (1) the lack and insufficient total number of teachers @ sekolah kebangsaan. the students to teacher ratio needed to be reduced; and
    (2) the compromised quality of teaching at sekolah kebangsaan due to: (a)unattractive perks & remuneration and (b)lack of number of teachers. With a good student to teacher ratio and more quality teachers at school, there is no further need to send children for extra tuition classes.

    this two issues needed to be resolve before even thinking of teaching mathematics and science in english.

    Once the two issues have been resolved, teaching english for mathematics and science is possible and will value-add the students in their future tertiary education and career especially in today globalisation.

    hence, the message conveyed in my blog.


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