Saturday, November 17, 2007

English in Maths and Science

Tonight, China Press has a coverage of the UPSR students answering their Maths and Science papers. Education Ministry did a calculation on the number of students answering in English or bilingual and the number is still quite disappointing.

For Science, there are only 1,324 students out of 496,773 students answer in English. If you do a calculation, it is a mere 0.27%. That's sad, as these students have learned their Maths and Sciences in English for the past 6 years.

For Maths, there are only 1,075 students out of 500,620 students who answer in English. The percentage is even lower at 0.21%. That's definitely frustrating.

Is the move to teach in English bringing any effect. If only 0.2%-0.3% of students bother to answer in English, this raises a few questions. Whether the teacher teaches in English? Whether the students understand in English? Whether the quality of English language manage to be improved? Whether the effort to teach Maths and Sciences in English for primary school is justified, if only so few students are answering in it.

And there are also some students who answer in both their mother tounge and English. To me, this is rojak. We shouldn't have encouraged this. It really means that the students are mixing the language around. For Science, 89,875 students answer in bilingual, which is 18.1%, whereas for Maths, 51,760 students answer in bilingual, which is 10.3%.

Perhaps a solution for this could be to have certain questions set in mother tounge and certain questions set in English and the students have to answer in the required language for each question. This would enable the transition to be more structured and achieve the objectives, to strengthen students' quality in Maths and Sciences and also English Language.

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