Clearing confusion over Maths and Science

(The Star) PUTRAJAYA: Year Six pupils will be able to answer their UPSR examination papers in English and Malay until 2016 while SPM candidates can do so until 2015, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In explaining the issue, Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister, said the two subjects would be taught either in Bahasa Malaysia or Chinese or Tamil and English in primary schools and in Bahasa Malaysia and English in secondary schools beginning next year.

He said this was among efforts to provide a “soft landing” for students in view of the change in policy involving the learning of Science and Mathe-matics in English.

He said pupils who are learning the subjects in English now but would be in Year 4 in 2012 would learn Science and Mathematics in Malay and English from 2012 onwards and sit for the UPSR exams in either language in 2016. (See tables for break down.)

“This is what we put forward to the Cabinet last week,” he told reporters yesterday to explain earlier reports which said that students who started studying Mathematics and Science in English could continue to do so until the end of their secondary education.

Muhyiddin said he needed to clarify this because many parents were confused and unclear of the ministry’s “soft landing” approach, which was meant to ensure the change in policy would not “shock” students.

“We need to ensure the right app-roach is taken to allow the change of policy be done systematically and smoothly.

“Even though we had earlier announced that the new policy is to be implemented in 2012, in certain situations we allow the time frame be ex-tended for a few more years to allow the soft landing,” he said.

When asked to comment on a proposed protest to pressure the Govern-ment to stop the teaching of Mathe-matics and Science in English immediately, Muhyiddin said to do so might be easy if “they are the Education Minister”.

“They can pressure us but they don’t understand what managing education is all about. If you ask me, I would have done it (stopped the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English) yesterday but we need to ensure everything is smooth for the students because they are the ones who will be affected,” he added.

Meanwhile, Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said the ministry would encourage schools to teach the two subjects in two languages – Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese or Tamil and English in primary schools and Bahasa Malaysia and English in secondary schools – beginning next year.

At the press conference, Muhyiddin also announced Datuk Dr Mohd Anuar Rethwan or Anwar Ridhwan as the recipient for this year’s National Literature Award on Oct 20.

The dean for the writing faculty of the National Heritage and Arts Academy is the 10th recipient of the country’s most prestigious award for literature and has written numerous books.

Some of his work have been translated to Japanese and French.