Home > Education, Ramblings > my blabber on PPMSI

my blabber on PPMSI

In reply to a post on PPMSI:

my opinion and observation, the underlying problem is not language per se but the education system itself. Exam oriented and learning by rote, no problem-solving, relying on the teacher rather than being allowed or encouraged to think for themselves, even at uni level, students still sit waiting to be spoon fed, and these are critical skills for math & science.

I site teaching assistants for example in the UK who can speak punjabi,urdu or whatever language even of immigrants, and we’re not even doing it for dayak, kadazan, let alone tamil, mandarin etc.

The most important thing is to make the students able to understand in whatever language, however the terms if not available in native language, of course use the English term, even put in a dash of common scientific terms and sentences in English, for easier transition at uni level. Having a good command of English should be done concurrently but not at the expense of producing good mathematicians /scientists.

I still disgress, understanding is key. So I get the OP, his pov, but I also get that most terms are borrowed, either from Arabic/Greek/Latin/English, whatever. Do whatever it takes in whatever language to produce top mathematicians and scientists. I’d rather the gov do research on how Field medallists and Noble prize winners are produced and actually having specialist technical and math schools and institutes as they do in France, Russia etc.

I think the gov should work a lot harder to train and attract enough teachers competent enough to teach math, science not only in BM or English, but also in all other languages that are spoken in Malaysia, just to get the message across. Look at Finland, teaching is a respectable, coveted career, and a Masters degree is required, producing passionate teachers. Schools are given autonomy to do whatever they think best, and curriculum is provided as a guideline, not to suffocate teachers but to give an idea of the level of instruction.

Whichever language is used BM or English, we’ll still not produce great scientists/mathematicians if the edu system remain as it is, in steady  or rather plummeting decline, and it is certainly not, in my opinion, primarily due to the  language of instruction. So why waste our time arguing about language when the main problem is incompetence, disarray, not doing proper research and learning from others before altering the education system to disrepair? I’d rather push for a group of parents, teachers, education specialists, neurologists, paediatricians to go around and research on how best to solve this problem. I beg to differ that even if families who don’t speak English as a first language vote for their children to be taught science and math in English, I still think it’s not in their childrens best interest. At best I’d say let them be taught mainly in their mother tongue with exposure to English terms. Let the experts collect a wealth of research I’m sure has already been done on language of instruction and please make the report avaible to the public and have the conclusions clear and a decision made. Whether it is the best decision or not, we’ll be rest assured that it was madewith knowledge and not by mere diving into the unknown.

And whatever the decision is, I’d like for a system to be reinstated that a mere politician, whether the Minister of Education, or even the Prime Minister cannot simply change the edu system without having  a suruhanjaya of independent experts in the field come up with sound, independent research. Come on, an Education Minister should have at least a PhD, all the better if it’s related to education or cognitive development or the likes. At least we have a doctor as the Health Minister, why not an Engineer for Public Works, an Economist/Financial Analyst as Finance Minister, Scientist as Agricultural Minister, won’t that be sublime and interesting to have eggheads rather than duds to head a country?

Categories: Education, Ramblings
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