Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The bitter the medicine, the better the cure

This letter among others should make the BN Gomen stand up for PPSMI and make it for ALL our young generations:

Thank you to the writer, Dr Kamal Amzan and MI:

PPSMI, a tough pill to swallow — Dr Kamal Amzan
November 08, 2011

NOV 8 — This is déjà vu.

Back in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s day, we saw many U-turns and flip flopping of government decisions.

The decision to build a crooked bridge, double tracking rail project, comes to mind. Malaysians were so tired of such fickle-mindedness that they voted the Opposition into a few states in March 2008.

Three years later, we usher in the era of PPSMI.

Within a week we saw two big announcements by the education minister. One was to uphold the abolishment of PPSMI, while the other was to extend PPSMI until 2021.

After quoting numerous studies and expert opinions on why they have to shelve the teaching of science and mathematics in English, and how teaching in the Malay language will be better for students, the education minister decided that the country could still prolong the teaching of said subjects in the English language.

What were his decisions based on? The proximity of the next general election, or because our students and Malaysia deserve a better future?

Should we expect another U-turn after the general election? Or should we be fickle and vote someone else in?

Whatever the answer, education for Malaysians must not be used as currency to garner support or votes. No matter how unpopular a policy vis-a-vis our education is, the government and the rakyat must swallow bitter pills to ensure a progressive and developed Malaysia.

Gambling with our children’s education is never the answer.

The teaching of science and mathematics in English will not only improve our children’s command of the language, but will hasten the knowledge transfer to make our younger generation more marketable, attracting high income companies in their wake to make Malaysia a high income nation.

Critics who scream violation of the national language should be made to understand that as long as Malaysia is regarded as a third world country (no matter what the politicians want us to believe), as long as our graduates are unemployable, and as long as Malaysia remains behind technologically, Bahasa Malaysia will never be looked up to by the world.

Only a developed Malaysia will allow the respect Bahasa Malaysia deserves, and its proliferation as the next lingua franca in the region if not the world by our world-class, English proficient, sought after graduates.
How many more generations do we need to experiment on before we accept the fact that English language goes hand in glove with advancements in science and mathematics, which will unmistakably lead to national progress?

As with any policy in their infancy, we are bound to encounter problems. Solving them as we move along will be a teaching experience for the teachers, parents and officials in the education ministry and the nation, as long as everyone is committed to such lessons in the English language.

That is called a learning curve, and maturing into a more advance nation.

Crying wolf, giving PPSMI a bad name, getting people to scream and protest against it, and attempting to erase them from history because they are too difficult to handle, or too complicated for the ministry to handle is not the answer.

Malaysians are a mature lot that understand sacrifices for the sake of the future. No sane, rational parent will object to the use of English in the classroom for the teaching of science and mathematics unless they are politically motivated, or are ignorant of world affairs.

The government should be firm in implementing PPSMI, and not bow down to presumedpressure from NGOs and other politically motivated parties. The government must act as a guardian to our children’s and nation’s future, and not let a handful of ill informed parties hijack the policy meant for a better future.

Start making tough decisions and sticking to them please. Bitter pills to swallow, for a better Malaysia.

* Dr Kamal Amzan reads The Malaysian Insider.

No matter what other friends says, I read TheMalaysianInsider everyday.

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