Saturday, July 11, 2009

quod erat demonstrandum

After months of weighing the idea in their grubby hands amidst support and protests, they have finally decided to revert to the usage of Bahasa Malaysia (from now henceforth to be known as BM in this post) in the teaching of science and maths to school students after an experimental period of about 6 years of teaching those subjects in English. Apparently the experiment failed big time.

One of the issues highlighted was a difficulty for the students to move effortlessly from basic science and maths in BM to English when they go to varsity which was one of the reasons why English in science and maths was introduced in the first place. That and also a plan for making us more competitive outside Malaysia, especially in English speaking nations.

Now, national type school students in Malaysia have been learning science and maths (and a whole lot of other subjects except English) in BM (Although I must admit that there have been strange rumours of English being taught in BM circulating around!) since 19xx right until 2002 (I can't seem to find the information to this anywhere online at the moment) I was a part of this mass group of students who made a transition from BM in school to English in varsity using the help of technical dictionaries (when available, which wasn't often :( ) and some extra effort. Of course it was not easy, because text books were in English, lecture notes and some exams were in BM (in my case), but we managed just fine. I don't ever remember tearing my hair out over terminology.

For this very reason, I don't see why people are making so much noise about using BM again, if kids from before 2003 had to adjust, so why can't the kids these days do the same?

On another note, one of the things I regret about not using English for science and maths in school was when trying to prove/derive an equation - usually depends on what the question wants, though. I used to watch my sister write Q.E.D. (aka quod erat demonstrandum) with a flourish after deriving an equation, whereas when we did it, we only used the words "terbukti" (translated as proven)

To be honest, the issue is a big one... too many people with too many opinions. Plus there is also a bunch of people who are under the impression that we are taking a step backward by using BM again and so on, which I shall not comment on. For a better understanding of the whole issue, please click this link. And for further details, there are links in the link itself.

13 comments:

  1. Note: I usually avoid attempts at explaining my posts, but before anyone decides to go on a blogger bashing spree at this post, I think I need to stress that this post was created to make fun of the whole issue (regardless of how serious it may seem in certain people's eyes - especially those with school going children)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I recently applied to Moscow State University for Post Graduate Studies and they have asked me to do an additional 1 year year course in Russian language,before starting my actual course of studies.Though English seems to have taken over academics but still some countries are offering degrees in their national languages and they are doing very good.I gave you the example of Russia, there arealso Germany and Italy in line.I highly regard those nations who are proud of their language.( iam absolutely not against the teaching of English language but it should be taught as a secondary language)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I remember going through a similar situation when I was in school regarding the metric system. But it just never really caught on with people stubbornly hanging on to inches, lbs, and miles.

    Some highway signs do still have both miles and kilometers, leftovers from the last time the government tried to convert us over to metrics.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am one of those people who think we're taking a step backward. I have school going children and I've spoken to my kid's teachers and what I discovered was (shocked) is that the teachers themselves simply cannot even speak proper English to begin with and it's them (and not the students) who want these two subjects to be reverted back to BM.

    Like I said, I just think we're taking a step back with that decision.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Saya rasa sudah tibalah masanya untuk memperkembangkan dan mempopularkan kembali Bahasa Melayu dalam bidang sains dan teknologi :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd agree with Nick in this matter. I have written my own point of view in my blog as well. Not for making noise but to point out some points based on what I think.

    I won't agree with Jai. Before this Bahasa Melayu tak berkembang ke? I mean before we implement PPSMI.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nowsherwan: Yeah, some countries do that. I suppose it is worthwhile to be proficient in more than one language...

    Travis: It looks like people are sometime averse to change...

    Nick: I read your take on the matter in your blog and I can understand your concerns as a parent. Perhaps if they had imported teachers from English speaking countries to teach science and maths it would be easier?

    Jai: Itu merupakan opsyen yang kita ada buat masa ini.

    Brian: I'll check your blog in a bit...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am so confused. But thats okay, I don't think I was destined to understand alot of things :(

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 1. Nuusha u need to delete sabrinas message :)

    2. South Africa went through a similar thing with Afrikaans being forced on the populous. It ended in riots and people died.

    I think respecting a persons mother tongue is a very big thing. I understand that English has become a standard, but that can be tackled later. Kids should not be expected to
    1. learn English and
    2. learn other subjects in English at the same time

    it is unfair and discriminatory to non English speakers in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Orhan: This is a very Malaysian issue... something which I don't think is common in Australia. Maybe someday when I have lots of time, I shall attempt an explanation.

    Sabrina: Your e-mail addy was here for about 2 hours before I saw it and deleted it. But I trust the crowd that frequent here (those that I know of, anyway)so you should be safe ;)

    SS: #1. Yes, I know... Done.
    #2. Oh wow... that is tragic, indeed. It's the opposite over here, the people (urban parents, mostly) want English, but the education ministry doesn't seem to agree....

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am not entirely sure I'm i, but like Travis I remember the whole failed metric conversion.

    And the middle schooler in me wants to giggle abut you calling the language BM. (A common term for poop.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. LOL! BM was a somewhat official acronym for the language, especially for time tables due to lack of space... but now I've got the giggles as well :D

    ReplyDelete