What has loyalty got to do with education?

From: Politikus
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 02:59:44 -0700 (PDT)
Local: Sun, Jun 14 2009 5:59 pm
Subject: What has loyalty got to do with education?

Everytime something goes wrong, blame it on English... when will this
stop? :-(

What has loyalty got to do with education?
Dr Mathew Sebastian | Jun 12, 09 5:16pm

Every time something good is in progress, somebody has to jump in and
make a disaster of the impending progress. It is now just about seven
years or so since English was made the medium for science and
mathematics in schools. That was a well thought-out policy by our
former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad. Everything has been set in
place and is running well.

The children are doing well and are coping well. This is definitely a
step in the right direction for their further education in the
universities whether local or foreign. Now, all of a sudden, some
language protagonists (for what hidden agenda I have no idea
whatsoever) have started making noise both in public and private and
this has shaken our government so badly so much so they have been
thrown off balance.

It is at a point of topsy- turvy as far as our children are concerned.
It is one thing for today and another for tomorrow. Let me remind
Malaysians about what happened many years ago in Malaysia. We had such
excellent schools like the La Salle schools and the Convent schools
that produced outstanding citizens of all races in this country. These
schools excelled themselves, producing the nation's top students both
academic as well as all-rounded students up to Form Six.

Nobody could beat the sense of dedication of the teachers of these
schools and the sense of pride enjoyed by these students is indeed
nostalgia for today. Then, the government of the day found reason to
derecognise these schools and decided to abolish and turn them into
‘national type' schools. The golden era of education ended abruptly to
the chagrin of many.

Today, that English language being used to teach Science and
Mathematics is being debated and the government is being thrashed to
smithereens to discontinue this. It beats my intelligence to listen to
some of the rationale being espoused by so-called protagonists of
their agenda. Below are some of them

Malaysians should be loyal to our national language: Well, what in
god's name has loyalty got to do with education? The bottom line is
knowledge. If knowledge has to be acquired through education then seek
out the knowledge. That knowledge is available from the millions of
books all over the world. Most of the best books are available in our
own libraries.

Let us not kid ourselves by telling ourselves that these books can be
easily translated into Bahasa Malaysia and therefore it should be
taught in Bahasa. If translations are done for the sake of
translations, then where is the depth of knowledge? Do we have enough
Bahasa intellectuals to do perfect translations of professional

In short, if one wants to seek knowledge in its entirety, then seek
them in the English language text books. It is the inherent knowledge
that gives you the right intuition, the right intrusion on the subject
matter and the ability to develop the right creativity skills on the
profession or subject that you have studied. If you fail here, then
one would remain as a piece of brick plastered into the cement walls
and you can't move an inch further.

From the video recordings shown on the Internet of the recent protest
demonstrations in KL against the teaching of mathematics and science
in English, it did appear that most of the demonstrators did not
appear to be serious-minded students hellbent on acquiring knowledge
but rather some disinterested male characters who definitely did not
belong to the studious category but more like the Mat Rempits in town
causing havoc for residents and their neighbourhoods.

Surely we can't use these chaps as a yardstick for what is best for
our younger generation of students who are more interested in bringing
pride to themselves and their parents.

If there are people who are hellbent on creating problems for the
government, then the solution is simple. Just give them the option of
choosing the language of their choice. It can either be in Bahasa or
in English. In any event, most teachers do teach science and
mathematics with a mixture of English and Bahasa. So it does not make
any difference.

With a choice available of either the national language or English,
then those wishing to acquire further education - be it in local or
foreign universities - it would be smooth-flowing. However, please do
not deprive those who wish to seek knowledge or force them to be
ostracised due to language maniacs.

Finally, I wish to propose to the government that every trade or job
be tied up to a proper certification. This means if one wants to be a
bricklayer, then he should be certified and the same goes for food
handlers, chefs, masons, electricians, motor mechanics etc. This is
how it is done in Australia or in any of the developed nations.

Any student who has no aptitude in studies should be advised
accordingly and each should be encouraged to take up certificate
courses before heshe is allowed to take up a trade. Let them not take
up an education that is going to end in them being unemployable.

My love for the country in inherent and it is not dependent on the
knowledge that I seek.

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