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MCA and Gerakan Ministers should table for Cabinet adoption the four-point resolution of Saturday’s Dong Jiao Zong-hosted Convention on the teaching of mathematics and science in primary schools
by Lim Kit Siang
As MCA and Gerakan leaders have said that that they are in support of or on the same wave-length as the four-point resolution on the teaching of mathematics and science in primary schools, the next logical step after Saturday’s Convention is for the MCA and Gerakan Ministers to forward the four-point resolution to the next Cabinet meeting for adoption.
This will also be in keeping with the undertaking given by the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Mahadzir Khir in Parliament last Wednesday when replying to my supplementary question that the government will give serious consideration to constructive proposals made at the Convention – and there is no higher government body than the Cabinet to discuss the four-point resolution of the Convention.
There is great urgency for the Cabinet to address this problem, especially as there has been no announcement about the position of the 2-4-3 formula – two periods for English, four for mathematics and three for science in English each week for the Chinese primary schools – as the new school year will be opening in three weeks’ time. Furthermore, there is also no announcement with regard to the number of periods for the two subjects in English in Std. IV for Chinese primary schools.
In keeping with the four-point Convention resolution, the ideal solution would be for the increase of the nine periods in the 2-4-3 formula from Std. I to III to be devoted solely to the teaching of English, which could be applied to all other primary schools – which will result in greater proficiency in English language for all pupils.
In the past three years, legitimate questions have been raised whether the 2-4-3 formula is educationally sound and the most effective way to maximize the potential and capabilities of our children, in view of educational studies worldwide that the most important task in the early years of primary education is to develop the child’s thinking skills which is best achieved through the mother-tongue or home language.
The Education Ministry has failed to answer these legitimate questions, as available evidence point to the validity of the growing concern that the country has embarked on another half-baked educational experiment which will prove most disastrous not only for the schoolchildren concerned but also the country in undermining the nation’s international competitiveness in future.
Eight Japanese have won Nobel prizes for scientific achievements and all the eight were taught mathematics and science in their Japanese mother-tongue in primary and secondary education before acquiring English proficiency. Five of the six ethnic Chinese who became Nobel Science Laureate also had their earlier grounding in mathematics and science in their mother-languages in primary and secondary education.
This is why the four-point Convention resolution has the support of Malay and Tamil educationists, who have come forward to join ranks with Chinese educationists to underline the important point that this is not an issue concerning race or political party but strictly an educational question.
The Cabinet should take the bold step at its next meeting to adopt the four-point Convention resolution.
If the MCA and Gerakan Ministers are not prepared to table the four-point Convention resolution in Cabinet because of their lack of confidence in convincing the UMNO Ministers, then there will be no alternative but to present the four-point Convention resolution to Parliament for adoption at its next meeting in March.
I hope MCA and Gerakan MPs will not only support the four-point Convention resolution in Parliament but do their utmost to convince UMNO MPs and Ministers, as well as those from the other Barisan Nasional parties like MIC, SUPP and others to give their support as well.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman