PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says English will be the medium of instruction for the teaching of Science and Mathematics again in a bid to promote the use and mastery of the language.
Mahathir, who is also the acting education minister, stressed the importance of mastering the English language and added that the two subjects were not “indigenous” to Malaysia.
“Geography and history can come in any language, but science and mathematics are not an indigenous field of knowledge.
“It comes from abroad and most of it comes to us in English. Therefore, we are going to use English in the teaching of Science and Mathematics,” he said in a special meeting with the education ministry’s management group yesterday.
In March last year, Mahathir announced that the government had taken the middle-road approach to the teaching of Science and Mathematics in schools.
Mahathir said the approach would allow schools to choose whether to teach the two subjects in English or Malay because some Malaysians supported the idea while others were opposed to it.
However, in July, he said the education ministry was studying the reintroduction of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) policy which was first introduced in 2002.
The PPSMI policy, which was aimed at improving students’ command of English, was dropped in 2012 amid strong protest.
The government’s plan to reintroduce it in schools had teachers and Malay advocacy groups up in arms previously.
Mahathir acknowledged that Malaysians wanted to see reforms in the nation’s education policy, adding that he noticed weaknesses in the current policy that required attention.
“Of course, my views are not always popular or acceptable to many people but I feel that I need to push for certain things to make sure that our children grow up and find themselves able to tackle the problems of adult life,” he said. “That is the purpose of education.”
He said Malaysia’s plural society was a double-edged sword, posing setbacks but also presenting the potential to further contribute to the development of the nation.
He added that the country’s development all this while was the fruit of “good working relations” between the various races.
“If a country is not stable, if it is at war, we can forget about development. Everything will be concentrated on how to kill each other more efficiently,” he said.