Many views and opinions had been put forward regarding the
teaching of science and mathematics in English. As concerned
parent who cares for our children in their studies and who
keeps in touch with teachers and the development of
education in our country, I would like to put forward the
facts of the realities of our children’s ability to cope
with the present education system.
1. Most of the parents welcome, think good and have no
objection to the teaching of science and maths in English in
secondary schools, except that there is much to be improved.
2. Most of the parents with children in primary schools
would like to see their children improve and acquire the
foundation and ability to read, write and communicate in
English, knowing the importance of English in the working
society and international arena.
3. As parents, we know the strengths and weakness of our
children at this age (primary age) to cope with the
increasing workload put on them at the primary level. This
i) They have to cope with the increasing standard of the
national language (Bahasa Melayu).
ii) In vernacular schools, they have to cope with the
increasing standards of their mother tongue language.
iii) They have to cope with the extra subjects to study -
science and maths (in both languages for vernacular
schools), civic studies, projects for civic studies and
local studies etc.
The effect of this extra workload and studies have brought
1. The majority of students stressed up, losing their joyful
childhood and lack time to develop their growth in other
areas which are equally important in growing up as a person.
Just like a plant, our children are losing balance in their
growing-up years and this is retarding their proper growth.
2. The majority of the teachers are facing more stress and
frustration due to an extra workload and their inability to
teach science and maths in English which further leads to
depressed feelings due to failure to deliver in their job.
3. In implementing the teaching of science and maths in
English, the standards of both subjects are being
compromised or lowered.
Have all the above happening gives the ministry of education
enough facts to see that the purpose of our education system
has been defeated particularly in this matter and needs to
Most parents in primary schools, particularly the vernacular
schools, would tell you that apart from hoping that their
children would not be robbed of the opportunity to be
grounded in the three languages before they go on to
secondary schools, they would also hope to see that their
children would be grounded in basic knowledge such as
mathematics and science which are more important than
learning English through these subjects.
As parents, we realise that it’s always an advantage for our
children to acquire some exposure to maths and science
terminologies before they go on to secondary schools for
Yet as a human being, even we adults also find it to be too
much of a stress to cope with so much of studies at the
primary school level, what more children at this age? Have
we adults put ourselves in their shoes? Have we, like the
Chinese sayings ‘pulled the seedlings from the soil to help
the plant grow faster’? And the end result is disaster?
Thus, many parents and teachers whom I have talked to and
who keep in touch with our children’s education would like
to put forward this proposal to the ministry for their
serious consideration in making a decision regarding the
teaching of science and maths in English at the primary
1. Incorporate the science and maths knowledge into the
English subject and let it be taught as one subject that is
2. Increase the number of English lessons in school.
This will help the students to improve their English
standard besides acquiring some basic knowledge in science
and maths in English as a preparation for them to cope with
the switch to science and maths in English in secondary
It will also help to reduce some stress for both the
teachers and students as they have fewer subjects to cope
with particularly in the vernacular schools.
Teachers in each subject would then be able to focus on the
teaching of either English or science and maths. This will
eventually help to improve the standard of English and
impart or build the necessary foundation for science and
maths among our children at this age.
The way our children grow will shape and determine the way
our nation goes.
The writer is an MCA central committee member.