“Having said that, I’m not asserting that our students have no capability to pass the IELTS and TOEFL papers. It is just that certain parties do not see this irony. The irony is while they think that they are doing the nation a favour, they are actually lost in obsession and fetishism.”
Been reading the newspaper the past few weeks, there seems to be a conflict between certain parties on the use of the English particularly on the teaching of science and mathematics. On one side we have the government who wants English to be used while on the other side we have generally, two main parties, who each advocate for the use of BM and Mandarin in science and mathematics respectively. This time what the government wants to do is not of concern. What is of my concern is the stand of these two other groups.
I’m not too sure what the fuss is all about but if either of these groups have it their way, we are certainly going to bring our country, especially our children down the drain. I wonder if these people have been through any education at all. As it is, we are not going to achieve much if we are adamant on being obsessed with our identity. What can we gain through the use of BM or Mandarin? Is it because that as Malaysians we have to be proud of our national language that we have to use it? Or because we are Chinese and therefore we have to be proud of our mother tongue that we have to use Mandarin? This is utter rubbish. Why?
Whether we like it or not, today, here, right now, most if not all the language of knowledge is in English. Together with it, there are certainly others, being French, German, Russian or Japanese. Nevertheless as part of the Commonwealth, the English language is one that we should be able to command easily. Go to any university; go through all the courses, visit any library and you will find that easily all the main and latest literatures are all in English. There are hardly any original or new literatures in BM or even in Mandarin. Isn’t it funny? All new ideas are found expressed in English but here we are obsessed with learning in BM and/or Mandarin. So instead on progressing we are actually digressing. This where they’ll say and tell us, “Hey lets all go backwards. We want to be dumb and stupid.”
It is still acceptable to use these two languages provided we have intellectually capable teachers and lecturers. Then even if they do not know English or do not teach in English, it would not bring disaster. The Japanese and French are good examples. The problem is we don’t. Here not only are they not intellectually competent, they can’t, or more precise, refuse to use English. I have yet to meet one who does not know English but is intellectually capable. All that are intellectually capable use, or have used, and are able to use, English. You expect our students to progress without learning in English? What we’ll have is the blind leading the blind.
To add to this, all, if not most of the top universities in the world use English as their medium of instruction. How do we expect our students to go to the best institutions when they can’t even command English? Here we shout and cry for the use of BM or our mother tongue, be it for purposes of identity, or as our national language, or so that we don’t become a traitor to our own race. We make a policy that even in our local universities, BM has to be used.
This is where the problem gets complicated. Say you want to continue your studies in a university overseas, at first instance you won’t be qualified as English is not your medium of instruction and because of this you either have to sit for the IELTS or the TOEFL. So an entry to a local public university does not help but actually impedes your attempt to enter a top university overseas. Thus education in a local public university does not help you; instead it makes it more difficult for you to pursue your education at a top overseas university.
Having said that, I’m not asserting that our students have no capability to pass the IELTS and TOEFL papers. It is just that certain parties do not see this irony. The irony is while they think that they are doing the nation a favour, they are actually lost in obsession and fetishism.