No issue with teaching Science, Maths in English in rural areas, says Sarawak minister

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin (centre) in a press conference at his office in Kuching.

KUCHING: Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin says it should not be an issue for Science and Mathematics to be taught in English in rural parts of the state.

In the past, he said, few people in rural areas were able to understand and converse in English, but the language was still applied among primary school pupils.

“The result was good, and a lot of them turned out to be successful individuals.

“Today, about 90% of villagers in Sarawak can understand and speak English, so what’s the problem?” he said in a press conference at his office here today.

He posited that those who refuse to speak in English do so for fear of making a mistake.

“The phobia actually comes from us,” he said, adding that he had received positive response so far on the implementation of the programme in Sarawak.

“About 90% have welcomed the move. Some even say they have been waiting too long for this.

“It is good for Sarawak. It is good for our children’s future.”

He also said he believed that most parents would support the move as it would allow the younger generation to be more competent in the global market.

“Those from the younger generation today find it difficult to work in the private sector because most companies use English as their medium of communication, so they’re very much dependent on government jobs,” he added.

If needed, he said, district education officers would hold dialogue sessions with parents after Hari Raya to clear the air on any concerns.

He said the education ministry and state education department would also come up with customised modules for training teachers by the end of August.

“For the first year, we need about RM9 million to train teachers, including for books and materials. The chief minister is prepared to help us,” he said.

“I’m also planning to go to Kuala Lumpur to seek financial support from the federal government immediately after the Hari Raya celebration.”

Manyin said there would be no shortage of teachers as qualified individuals from the teachers’ training institute, Swinburne University, Curtin University, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Universiti Teknologi Mara have already been identified

“Curtin and Swinburne universities approached us earlier and they’re ready to help us. They have the teachers,” he said.