Friday, August 21, 2009

More DIED due to H1N1

As of today the tally has increased to 68 fatalities.
The Minister if Health said that the government would contemplating declaring a health curfew if the mortality rate goes above 0.4 per cent.

Situasi Semasa Pandemik (H1N1) 2009 Dan Tindakan Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia
21 Ogos 2009


Dimaklumkan sehingga 21 Ogos 2009 jam 9.00 pagi, sejumlah 257 kes baru dengan gejala influenza-like illness (ILI) telah dimasukkan ke hospital, manakala 234 kes telah didiscaj keluar menjadikan baki seramai 1556 kes sedang dirawat di 98 buah hospital termasuk 3 hospital swasta di seluruh negara. Dari jumlah ini, hanya 220 kes (14%) yang disahkan positif H1N1.

Dari 220 kes yang disahkan H1N1, 44 kes berada di ICU di mana 12 kes merupakan kemasukan baru sementara 3 kes dipindah keluar dari ICU. Daripada 44 kes yang sedang dirawat di ICU, 20 kes (45%) mempunyai faktor risiko iaitu penyakit kronik (7), hamil dan bersalin (4), bayi (4), asma (2), obesiti (2) dan kanak-kanak istimewa (1).

Untuk makluman, tiada kematian baru yang disahkan akibat jangkitan influenza A(H1N1) dilaporkan pada hari ini.

Mengikut laporan Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO), penularan pandemik H1N1 di dunia masih lagi aktif dan melibatkan 182 buah negara. Sehingga 21 Ogos 2009 jam 8.00 pagi, terdapat peningkatan kes jangkitan influenza A(H1N1) sebanyak 2073 kes menjadikan jumlah kes terkumpul 233,342 dengan peningkatan kes kematian sebanyak 46 menjadikan jumlah kematian terkumpul 2,399.

Kementerian Kesihatan mengambil maklum kesukaran mendapatkan bekalan ubat antiviral pada masa kini. Oleh itu, orang ramai boleh mendapatkan bekalan ubat antiviral dari fasiliti kesihatan swasta yang menyertai rangkaian Klinik Cegah dan Rawat H1N1 yang telah dilancarkan oleh Yang Berhormat Menteri Kesihatan Malaysia pada 20 Ogos 2009. Ianya boleh diperolehi pada harga tidak melebihi RM80.00. Bagi fasiliti kesihatan swasta yang ingin menyertai rangkaian tersebut, sila layari http://www.h1n1.net.my/ untuk maklumat lanjut.

Orang ramai digesa untuk memberi perhatian serius tentang langkah-langkah pencegahan jangkitan influenza untuk mengekang penularan wabak H1N1. Kementerian Kesihatan ingin menasihatkan kepada orang ramai untuk mengutamakan dan mengamalkan langkah-langkah pencegahan seperti berikut:

1. Apabila berada di tempat awam yang sesak, adalah dinasihatkan supaya individu-individu yang mempunyai symptom influenza-like illness(ILI) memakai mask bagi mengelakkan penularan jangkitan influenza kepada orang ramai.

2.
Bagi individu-individu yang mempunyai faktor risiko seperti wanita mengandung, asma, penyakit paru-paru yang kronik, diabetes dan golongan dengan imuniti yang rendah adalah digalakkan memakai mask bagi mengelakkan mereka mendapat jangkitan.

3.
Mereka yang berisiko tinggi dinasihatkan mendapatkan rawatan segera bagi mengelakkan mendapat komplikasi akibat jangkitan.

Kementerian Kesihatan ingin terus menegaskan bahawa rawatan antiviral hanya diberikan kepada kumpulan-kumpulan berikut tanpa perlu menjalani ujian pengesahan influenza A(H1N1):

1. Individu yang mempunyai gejala influenza-like illness (ILI) dan mempunyai faktor risiko seperti wanita mengandung, obesiti, asma, penyakit paru-paru kronik, diabetes dan golongan dengan imuniti rendah.

2. Individu yang mempunyai gejala ILI, tanpa mempunyai faktor risiko tetapi mempunyai demam yang tinggi (>38°C) berpanjangan (lebih daripada 2 hari).

3. Individu yang telah menjalani ujian “rapid test” serta didapati positif, mereka akan diberikan rawatan antiviral jika gejala jangkitan menjadi teruk dalam masa 48 jam.

Maklumat semasa jangkitan influenza A(H1N1) boleh diperolehi melalui talian hotline yang beroperasi dari jam 8.00 pagi hingga 5.30 petang di talian 03-88810200 dan 03­88810300 dan juga laman web Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia http://www.moh.gov.my dan http://h1n1.moh.gov.my. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia meminta orang ramai terus memberi kerjasama berterusan untuk menangani penularan wabak ini.

Sekian, terima kasih.

TAN SRI DATO’ SERI DR. HJ. MOHD. ISMAIL BIN MERICAN
Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan Malaysia

Tarikh: 21 Ogos 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Latest Updates on H1N1 Fatalities as of 11.08.09

Tuesday August 11, 2009
Flu fatalities climb to 32

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia reported six more deaths related to Influenza A (H1N1), bringing the total number of fatalities to 32..............

...................To date, the total number of reported cases in the country stood at 1,982. Globally, 208,155 people have been found to be infected by the virus and 1,688 people from 174 countries have died.


http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/8/11/nation/4491571&sec=nation

Friday, August 07, 2009

My Take on the issues of Teaching English

Much has been said about the need to improve students and teachers'English Proficiency. The Government has indeed made plans to get this done. Millions of Ringgit will be spent in order to achieve this. As the Education Minister said, they are going to bring in Aussie University to share their experience in helping students to master English. Well, in my opinion, after teaching ENGLISH more that 19 years , even getting teachers from Australia or Britain will be fruitless. I think our present local Universities have done a good job in producing TESL Teachers. Afterall we are following their techniques and methods in teaching. Books, articles or even research texts are easily available in the University's inventory. I do not see any good in spending more money implementing plans hastily which we dont even know the level of success yet.

What we need to do is to change the students' attitude. In order to do that we need to educate the parents. After all these years their mind have been set to reject English. Most parents in rural area are not well educated. Most of them are farmers,working in the palm oil estates, fisherman and other low income sectors. From my experience these students did badly in their academics, what more English? well we need a miracle to achieve that vision. What makes the Ministry think they could solve this problem by having specially trained English teachers ? The way I see it we have to bear in mind that their(Australia) success in helping students in rural schools is largely due to the fact that Australia's First language is English . In the contrary ours is Bahasa Melayu.Their language of instruction is English so its easier to get them to master English there.

Secondly i am of the opinion that the ministry should build a language lab specially for learning English. As we know children learn language by exposure and hands on. Im sure the present computer lab in schools is a perfect place to be utilised for that purpose. Rather than spending money on getting their expertise, i think it is more relevant to develop their language mastery by having more practice. This is even better as the language lab can motivate them instead of boring conventional English class.

Yes i do support the ministry move to make it compulsory for form 5 students to pass their English in SPM Level. But why do we need to just merely adopting the rules to the SPM Students? why not Form 3 students? By doing this we will be able to detect students' success rate of the language as early as UPSR or PMR. So they do not have problems sitting for them SPM English paper later.

Lastly, i do hope that the ministry to monitor closely the students who are enrolling TESL course in Universities. These students are going to be English teacher and they should have all it takes to be one. They should be chosen on merits. This is to prevent further embarrassment to the eduction ministry later as for now we can identify a lot of these English teachers who fare poorly especially in their grammar knowledge. I do see lots of English teachers who do not even know what is Subject Verb agreement. This is a very serious issue.

There are lots of measures to be taken for that purpose but i guess that the ministry people have their own point of view concerning the teaching of English. Whatever it is
i hope before they implement anything , they should consult the teachers' view. They never know they could generate more ideas which are not time consuming and expensive.

Government taps Aussie varsity help on English

Government taps Aussie varsity help on English

PERTH: The Education Ministry will work with Edith Cowan Univer-sity to improve the English language proficiency among students and teachers.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said a memorandum of understanding would be signed soon.

“The need is urgent. We need to develop this collaboration and make it effective as soon as possible,” he told Malaysian reporters after visiting the university’s Mount Lawley campus as part of a five-day working visit here.

Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, earlier had discussions with the university’s vice-chancellor Prof Kerry O. Cox.

The university trains teachers who specialise in teaching English and the ministry wanted to learn from their experience, he said.

“We want to look at the techniques used for helping people master English and their experience in sending teachers to rural areas as Western Australia is a very large state and has many schools there.

“They also have to attract teachers to teach in rural areas and this problem is almost similar to what Malaysia is facing.”

Muhyiddin said there could be Australian techniques that Malaysia could adapt for use.

Asked when the revised English curriculum would be introduced, he said it was part of the ministry’s new strategy on “Upholding Bahasa Malaysia, Strengthening English” which would be introduced in 2012.

“But if we can start earlier, it would be better.”

Prof Cox said the university was willing to send its team of experts to help.

Muhyiddin announced last month that the ministry would reverse the teaching of Mathe-matics and Science in English to Malay.

Part of the decision entailed strengthening the English curriculum.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Preschools to be part of national education system:

PUTRAJAYA: Preschools will be made part of the national education system, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Tuesday.

These schools will also be provided with trained English teachers as part of the Government’s effort to improve the standard of English, said Muhyiddin, also the Education Minister.

He did not give a timeframe for this however.

“I have seen many parents send their children to preschool and within one year, they can grasp basic English,” Muhyiddin said in off-the-cuff remarks after meeting about 3,000 teachers at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

“So we are working on making preschools part of the national education system.

“We have agreed in principle but are still working out the details,” he added.


http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/7/21/nation/20090721103707&sec=nation

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Can Jawi brings about Job Prospects Too Mister??

English proficiency does not guarantee scientific progress, says PKR MP Zulkifli

Saturday, 11 July 2009
By Sira Habibu, The Star

People in the Philippines are proficient in English, but many landed up only as maids, said controversial Kulim Bandar Bharu MP Zulkifli Noordin.

The Philippines, he said, took pride in their peoples’ ability to speak English but had only succeeded in exporting many maids, whereas Japan has produced many international award-winning scientists who could not even utter a word of English.

Zulkifli of PKR made the comparison in his blog to show his support for the Barisan Nasional Government’s decision to scrap the policy to teach Mathematics and Science in English by 2012.

"In line with the 1Malaysia concept, it is time Bahasa Malaysia is returned as the language of knowledge and medium of instruction in schools," he said.

Zulkifli also took a swipe at former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for introducing the policy to teach Mathematics and Science in English, which he claimed had adversely affected students in rural areas.

He, however, called on the Government to make English a compulsory subject, adding that English literature should be promoted in schools.

Zulkifli also called on the Government to look into returning the practice of writing Malay in jawi.

"Romanising the Malay language has made the people illiterate in Jawi and in Al-Quran," he said.

He also called on the Government to scrap the non-national schools to promote integration and creation of the Malaysian race.

"Chinese and Tamil can instead be taught as subjects in schools," he said, adding that the existence of vernacular schools further promote racial polarisation

REAL SHAME!!!

I came across to a local blog just a while ago. This blogger is commenting on the the recent PPSMI reversion to announcement to its original language which is Bahasa Malaysia as well as the teaching of English which will be setting off immediately to improve Students skills in that language. So he attached this "circular"in English from a student from one of the leading universities in this country. This is a classic example of what is really happening to our student in University today. And i wonder what has the dept of English language studies been doing all this while ?

4th UiTM INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FIESTA
19 – 23 November 2009 FUTSAL-RUGBY 7- TENPIN BOWLING-BADMINTON

Dear Sport Friends,

Regarding about the global issue H1N1 happens around the world, sadly to be informing that our UiTM International Sports Fiesta will be postponing to 19-23 November 2009.

For all teams which have been confirm to participate in our events, we have to say sorry for this announcements and our Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Health also advise to us to change the date for this current situation.

By the date have been confirm incoming this November hopefully your teams still can participate in our event and don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.

And again, we would like to say sorry about the date change for the sake of our health among us.

See you in this November at UiTM Malaysia!!

Regards,

Mr.(Deleted)
Director
Sports Centre
Universiti Teknologi MARA
Malaysia.

extracted from
http://hantulautan.blogspot.com

For full post from the original blogger, Mr RPK himself :-
http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/24036/84/
OUR GREAT STATE MAN, TUN DR MAHATHIR HAS INITIATED A PUBLIC POLL ON THE DECISION OF THE GOVERNMENT TO REVERT THE TEACHING OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS TO BAHASA MALAYSIA.
ACCORDING TO OUR EDUCATION MINISTER, THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ASSESSMENT WAS SHOCKING. HE SAID THE PROGRAM WHICH WAS INSPIRED BY TUN HIMSELF WAS OBVIOUSLY A FAILURE. WHILE EVERYONE AT THE TOP STARTS BLAMING PPSMI FOR THE POOR RESULT(I WONDER WHY THEY DIDNT MAKE A SOUND 7 YEARS AGO) .BUT THE POLL SHOWS SHOCKING REVELATION AND THE FIGURE IS TREMENDOUSLY HUGE. AS OF 11/7/09 THE FIGURE SHOWS A TOTAL OF 54233 VISITORS DO NOT SUPPORT THE REVERSION WHILE ONLY 9214 SAID YES . THIS SHOWS THAT PUBLIC OPINION WAS NOT BEING CONSULTED OR TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION BEFORE MAKING THE DECISION. WHATS YOUR TAKE ABOUT THE ISSUE? ME? WE ARE ALREADY HALF WAY THROUGH AND YOU ARE ASKING ME TO MAKE A U TURN? WELL LIKE I SAID BEFORE IN MY PREVIOUS POSTING, ITS TOO LATE TO GO BACK TO SQUARE ONE. WE HAVE WASTED 7 YEARS FOR THIS AND WHY STOP IT ALL OF A SUDDEN? WHY DON'T THE GOVERNMENT JUST IMPROVISE THE SYSTEM A LITTLE RATHER THAN JUST START AFRESH? BILLIONS ALREADY BEING SPENT FOR THAT PURPOSE AND I KNOW A WHOLE LOT MORE ALREADY BENEFITED FROM IT. THE STUDENTS WERE MADE A GENIE PIG 7 YEARS AGO INCLUDING THE REMAINDER OF THE BATCH TILL 2012 AND 2014...THEY WILL BE MADE TO SUFFER AS WELL .AND YOU KNOW WHAT... ONE OF MY STUDENTS ASKED ME A MATHEMATIC TERM'S TRANSLATION. SHE ASKED ME WHAT IS "ANGLE" IN BM? GOOD LUCK TO THE NEW POLICY......



DO YOU SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT'S DECISION TO TEACH MATHS & SCIENCE IN BAHASA MALAYSIA?
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Additional TIME Alloted for teaching of English, NO extra school hours

No extra school hours

2009/07/10

PUTRAJAYA: The additional hours to be allotted to the teaching and learning of English will not involve extra school hours, Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said yesterday. Rather, the periods of some other subjects such as music would be shortened to accommodate the increase in English classes.

“This is to ensure that the teachers and students are not burdened,” Alimuddin said at a press conference on “Memartabatkan
Bahasa Melayu, Memantapkan Bahasa Inggeris — New Deal for the Malaysian Education System” here.

At the Dewan Negara, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi said the government would spend RM5 billion in its effort to improve the teaching and learning of English in schools.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Wednesday that Science and Mathematics in national schools would be taught in Bahasa Malaysia from 2012.

With this decision, the government has opted to strengthen English by introducing additional hours for the subject.

On the 13,000 English teachers and 600 retired teachers to be recruited, Alimuddin said they could apply to the ministry to serve on contract.

“Successful candidates will be asked to teach at schools near their homes. We are still discussing the age limit.” The recruitment of 1,000 English teachers from overseas would depend on ongoing talks with Australia, New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom, he said.

On textbooks for students who have to switch to studying Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia, he said the ministry might print them in both languages.

Puad, replying to Senator Datuk Samsiah Samsudin during Question Time, said several education modules would be introduced to assist teachers and students in learning the English language.

This would include modules on writing, English oral and listening skills, and grammar.

“We will ensure that English proficiency means that one can not only speak the language, but also use it correctly.” Later in the lobby, Puad said the government would save RM40 million a year from 2012 when the teaching of Mathematics and Science is carried out in Bahasa Malaysia.

He said this was the sum saved from subject incentive payments (called BISP) to teachers who currently teach the two subjects in English,.

The allowance is to allow the teachers involved to buy reference books or take tuition to improve their command of the English language.

Puad also said the decision to stop incentive payments will affect 61,040 teachers teaching Mathematics in primary schools and 26,389 teachers in secondary schools.

It will also affect 46,946 Science teachers in primary schools and 25,781 in secondary schools.

Additional TIME Alloted for teaching of English, NO extra school hours

No extra school hours

2009/07/10

PUTRAJAYA: The additional hours to be allotted to the teaching and learning of English will not involve extra school hours, Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said yesterday. Rather, the periods of some other subjects such as music would be shortened to accommodate the increase in English classes.

“This is to ensure that the teachers and students are not burdened,” Alimuddin said at a press conference on “Memartabatkan
Bahasa Melayu, Memantapkan Bahasa Inggeris — New Deal for the Malaysian Education System” here.

At the Dewan Negara, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi said the government would spend RM5 billion in its effort to improve the teaching and learning of English in schools.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Wednesday that Science and Mathematics in national schools would be taught in Bahasa Malaysia from 2012.

With this decision, the government has opted to strengthen English by introducing additional hours for the subject.

On the 13,000 English teachers and 600 retired teachers to be recruited, Alimuddin said they could apply to the ministry to serve on contract.

“Successful candidates will be asked to teach at schools near their homes. We are still discussing the age limit.” The recruitment of 1,000 English teachers from overseas would depend on ongoing talks with Australia, New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom, he said.

On textbooks for students who have to switch to studying Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia, he said the ministry might print them in both languages.

Puad, replying to Senator Datuk Samsiah Samsudin during Question Time, said several education modules would be introduced to assist teachers and students in learning the English language.

This would include modules on writing, English oral and listening skills, and grammar.

“We will ensure that English proficiency means that one can not only speak the language, but also use it correctly.” Later in the lobby, Puad said the government would save RM40 million a year from 2012 when the teaching of Mathematics and Science is carried out in Bahasa Malaysia.

He said this was the sum saved from subject incentive payments (called BISP) to teachers who currently teach the two subjects in English,.

The allowance is to allow the teachers involved to buy reference books or take tuition to improve their command of the English language.

Puad also said the decision to stop incentive payments will affect 61,040 teachers teaching Mathematics in primary schools and 26,389 teachers in secondary schools.

It will also affect 46,946 Science teachers in primary schools and 25,781 in secondary schools.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The end of PPSMI

PUTRAJAYA, Wed:

The Cabinet has decided that all national primary and secondary schools will teach Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Melayu beginning 2012.
Vernacular schools, meanwhile, will teach the subjects in either Chinese or Tamil respectively, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin announced here today.

He said the policy will be implemented in stages for Year One, Year Four, Form One and Form Four in 2012. The changes do not involve Form Six and Matriculation students.

All examinations for Science and Mathematics will remain bilingual until 2014, so as to not jeopardise the performance of students under the current policy - Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English or its official abbreviation PPSMI (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris).

"The Government made this decision after studying in detail the result of studies and close monitoring of the PPSMI by the Education Ministry and independent bodies since the policy was implemented in 2003," Muhyiddin said.



He said studies showed that PPSMI was never implemented as originally hoped. Instead, teachers were using both English and Bahasa Melayu to teach Science and Mathematics, and the gap between urban and rural schools in the two subjects grew wider after PPSMI was implemented.

The Education Ministry monitored PPSMI in 2008 and found that only 8 per cent of teachers used English completely when teaching Science and Mathematics. On average, English use was 53-58 per cent of the total time allocated for teaching the two subjects.

The percentage of students that received grade A, B and C for Science and Mathematics in the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) exams also declined last year, in both urban and rural schools.

Muhyiddin said the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study 2007, meanwhile, revealed that Malaysian students in Science slipped from 20th place in 2003 to 21st in 2007. For Mathematics, our students dropped from 10th placing in 2003 to 20th in 2007.

"Based on these data, the Government is confident that Science and Mathematics should be taught in a language that is easily understood by students, which is Bahasa Melayu in national and secondary schools, and Chinese and Tamil in vernacular schools," Muhyiddin said.

At the same time, measures will be taken to strengthen the teaching and learning of English in schools, he added. These include:

* Increasing the number of English teachers by 13,000, especially for rural schools.

* Teaching assistants for English will be allocated for large classes of more than 35 students in Years One and Two.

* Time allocated for English in Level 1 (Year One to Three) for national schools will be increased 90 minutes to 330 minutes a week, while for Level 2 (Year Four to Six) to 300 minutes a week.

* Time allocated for English in Level 1 at vernacular schools will be increased 100 per cent from 60 minutes to 120 minutes a week, and for Level 2 from 90 minutes to 120 minutes a week.

* Time allocated for English in Form One to Six will be added 80 minutes from 200 minutes to 280 minutes a week.

* Time allocated for Malaysian University English Test (MUET) in Form Six will be increased 80 minutes to 400 minutes a week.

* Time allocated for English in Matriculation courses will rise 100 per cent from three hours to six hours a week.

The ministry will also introduce a Contemporary English Literature Programme For Children to inculcate the reading habit and introduce elements of literature. English labs will be set up in schools to help students learn the language more effectively, incorporating information technology through the use of appropriate software. To expose students to scientific terms, elements of science and technology will be absorbed into the teaching of English.

"With this decision, the Government is offering a new approach in the teaching of Science, Mathematics and English. The Government believes that this new approach will strengthen Bahasa Melayu and English proficiency, and increase the capability of students to master science and technology, which is important for the country’s future," Muhyiddin said.

www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/Frontpage/20090708145125/Article/index_html

Saturday, July 04, 2009

TEACHERS BEWARE!! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EVEN TOUCH STUDENTS!

KUALA LUMPUR: Director-general of Education Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said a teacher should not touch the student except for caning in private where the power has been delegated to him.
"Even if it's using a ruler to hit the student's palm, this could lead to injury.

"So even though the intentions may be good, this could bring about undesirable results," said Alimuddin.

He also said the teachers could also discipline the students by asking them to write lines, clean the classroom or pick the rubbish from the school compound.

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Saturday/National/2599052/Article/index_html

Saturday, June 27, 2009

RAIS!! WHAT NOW?? FIRST ITS SWINE FLU BUT NOW????WHAT A JOKE!!

Swine flu? H1N1? Rais now says ‘use both’

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim has suggested that both the “swine flu” and Influenza A(H1N1) terminologies be used by the media in reporting the disease.

This was a better and more accurate way of reporting the pandemic to the public, he said. He added that many international media organisations such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, Voice of America and Australian Broadcasting Corporation as well as search engines like Google and Yahoo were using the term swine flu.

“As a responsible ministry, we should use both terminologies when explaining the issue.

“We in the ministry will continue to use the easy-to-understand term. We will use the A(H1N1) terminology but for subsequent mentions, we will proceed with the term ‘swine flu’,” he told reporters after the launching of the “1Malaysia” logo by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here.

Rais said it would be up to the Health Ministry if it wanted to continue using the term Influenza A(H1N1) as stipulated by the World Health Organisation.

He also called on the media not to play up the swine flu issue as it could negatively impact the country, particularly its tourism sector.

Too much publicity would give the wrong impression among the public that the disease was more serious than dengue, which is still on the rise, he said. — Bernama

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/30720-swine-flu-h1n1-rais-now-says-use-both

PPSMI's Shock Discovery!

Teaching of maths and science in English a flop
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Neville Spykerman

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — The teaching of maths and science in English the last six years has not improved the performance of students in those subjects, the education minister admitted today.

“There have been changes but the difference is nominal,” said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said there had only been a two to three per cent change since the policy was implemented in 2003.

The deputy prime minister was responding to a supplementary question by DAP’s Tan Seng Giaw in Parliament.

The Kepong MP said the policy had been in existence for six years and asked for the reports on its effectiveness to be made public.

The education minister also said that the government, after much delay, will make a decision on the issue by next month. It is expected to continue with the programme, while finding ways to accommodate differing views.

Muhyiddin's reply drew flak from opposition MPs, who accused the government of negligence for its refusal to shut the policy down despite admitting to having problems in implementing it.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad from PAS said it was obvious in the minister's response that the government is not fully prepared for the implementation of the policy and students are being victimised as a result.

"It is apparent that they are not fully prepared for this and have not taken into account the implication and the repercussion," he told a press conference in Parliament.

He added that it was absurd that the government realised the programme's failure only after six years it has been implemented.

"Don't make our children guinea pigs," said Khalid, adding that teaching maths and science in English won't upgrade students' English quality, suggesting that it would be better for the government to focus on getting the best teachers to teach the international language instead.


http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/30283-teaching-of-maths-and-science-in-english-a-flop

Please, Don’t Turn Our Children Into Guinea Pigs

Taken from
http://art-harun.blogspot.com/

Some years ago, my friend interviewed a local graduate for pupilage. The interviewee spoke flawless Bahasa Malaysia. He carried himself well and answered all my friend’s questions confidently. Until, of course, my friend started speaking English. He asked the interviewee, “Why did you read law?” The interviewee looked into my friend’s eyes for a moment and appeared to be in deep thought. Finally he said, “Because I want pass my exam.”

Let’s face it. The standard of spoken and written English among our students nowadays is abysmal. I belong to the last batch of students in government schools from the “English stream”. That means we studied Maths and Science in English and took the “Lower Certificate of Education” in Form 3; the “Malaysian Certificate of Education” in Form 5 and the “Higher School Certificate” in Form 6. Even then, as I entered the university, I realised that my level of English proficiency was inadequate. My English was nowhere as good as the standard of English of students from urban areas and well-to-do families.

As a result I struggled. I had to take the English classes which were made compulsory for students like me. By the end of my first year, I realised that my English was going nowhere and it was not taking me anywhere either. With that realisation, I began to read a lot. I would even read the Star newspaper from the sport page down to the first page everyday with a dictionary in my hand. I would converse with all my friends and lecturers in English. By the end of the 2nd year, I had managed to answer half of my exam papers in English. Thus began my “English transformation”.

The proficiency in English among our students cannot be improved simply by teaching Maths and Science in English. To think that our students would be more proficient in English by learning Maths and Science in English is wishful at best and downright silly at the other extreme.

We are accustomed to knee-jerk reactions masked as “solutions” to every problem under the sun. And the latest is of course, solving the “English problem”.

When Mahathir Mohammad decided to preach for the teaching of Maths and Science in English during his tenure as the PM, one wonders what the objective was. What was the problem which was sought to be solved by that move? I am asking because I have so many contradictory answers.

The then Education Minister seemed to suggest that that move was taken to improve the standard of English among our pupils. On 23rd June however, the Malaysian Insider reported that:
“The teaching of maths and science in English the last six years has not improved the performance of students in those subjects, the education minister admitted today.
“There have been changes but the difference is nominal,” said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said there had only been a two to three per cent change since the policy was implemented in 2003.” (the full report is here).

So what was it? Was it to improve proficiency of English or to improve the students’ performance in Maths and Science? I have answered the earlier question. My opinion is that the standard of English is not going to improve just by teaching Maths and Science in English. As for the latter, if at all the DPM cum Education Minister did say that, I think he has totally missed the concept!

You don’t improve your performance in Maths and Science by changing the medium of communication in which you teach those subjects. Maths is Maths, regardless of whether it is in English, Arabic, Mongolian or Martian language. So is Science. If the Education Ministry had all these while been targeting to improve our students’ performance in Maths and Science by teaching these subjects in English, than I would say it has been a total waste of time, efforts and money.

As for the earlier objective of improving standard of English, who was the bright spark who thought that that objective could be met by teaching Maths and Science in English?
Proficiency in English is not acquired and will not ever be acquired by such method. In fact such move was more harmful to the students’ academic performance than it was helpful. The implementation of the whole policy, about 6 years ago, was to suddenly force students to take Maths and Science in English and the teachers to so teach them. Just imagine a Form 4 student. For the past 10 years, he was taught Maths in Bahasa Malaysia. He knew what “campur” and “tolak” were. Suddenly they respectively became “addition” and “subtraction”. And in science, “monoksida” and “reptilia” suddenly became “monoxide” and “reptile” respectively. Does that help him to be more proficient in English?

In July apparently the Government will announce its stand on this issue. God forbids if it decides to revert to teaching Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia, after about 6 years or so that Maths and Science are taught in English. Our children don’t deserve to be treated like some lab rats. They are not and should not be treated as some guinea pigs while our fickle-minded policy makers struggle even with the whole concept itself.

And the worst thing is that there is a niggly feeling that a political decision, as opposed to a diligent decision, will be made. This issue has somehow managed to become a political issue although it should not be one. This is not about the position of Bahasa Malaysia in this country. Worst still, this is not about the special “rights” or “position” of the Malays in this country.
To say that I am disappointed with the reasons given by the Pakatan Rakyat politicians and some academicians in opposing the Government’s move to teach Maths and Science in English would be an understatement. To these people I would like to appeal, please don’t turn this issue into a political one. And to the Government, please, for once, make the correct decision base on our conscience and the necessity to make our children better for their future as well as the future of this country.

To my mind, if the Government is serious at tackling this issue, it should really firstly, go to the ground and determine what the actual problem is. Then it should investigate the reasons for such problem. Only then it should consider the available solutions. When that is done, it should decide the methodology of implementing the solution(s).

There must however be room for improving the policy. The Government must be able to tweak the system every now and then if anything is found lacking or when such tweakage is necessary to yield improvements. But that doesn’t mean that the Government should be able to reverse its earlier decisions and make an about turn. Worst still, the Government should not let political pressure dictate such policy.

We, and our kids, have had too many of those. Our children should not be the sacrificial lambs, readily sacrificed for political survival or popularity. May I remind that our children’s education has been entrusted by the people to the Government. And the people expect that trust to be performed diligently, unemotionally and honestly.

PS
Encik M Bakri Musa posted a comment on my article at the Malaysian Insider. He asked me what, in my opinion, should be done.

Well, I cannot confess to have an answer to that question because I do not have sufficient facts of the problems as well as the cause for such problems. However, if we are talking about improving the standard of English, written and spoken, of the students, the first that I would do is to adopt a holistic approach towards solving that problem.

The objective must then be to improve such standard. The time within which to achieve that objective should be as soon as practicable. Then a suitable English syllabus designed to teach our students English as a business language (or as a second language, communication language – depending on the objective) should be drawn up with the help of experts. After that we would have to train the teachers. And list out and prepare all the materials which we need. Only after all these are met should we start introducing the lessons. It must begin at Standard One.
It must be holistic. We should not, with a view of a quick fix, start imposing things without much thought.

In addition, a new culture must be started. It would include inculcating our children the love for books (in English, preferably). They must be encouraged to converse and write in English. It will take time and a lot of efforts. But if that is what is needed, than we would owe it to our children to do it.

Teaching Maths and Science in English alone will not bring us anywhere.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A tribute To The Legendary King of Pop


MICHAEL JACKSON 1958 - 2009

YOU MAYBE GONE BUT YOUR MUSIC AND DANCE LIVE ON

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teachers Dilemma

TEACHERS: Losing sight of the job description
By : MARISA DEMORI, Ipoh
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Thursday/Letters/2590937/Article/index_html


I STRONGLY object to the statement by Hashim Adnan, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession, that "Teaching has lost its appeal because it is perceived as a woman's job." (NST, June 21).
The problem is teachers, the Education Ministry and parents have lost sight of the job description attached to the profession of a teacher. As a result, the teaching profession has been expanded, enlarged and extended to include duties and responsibilities that have nothing to do with the actual job of educating children.

A teacher is not someone entrusted with the moral education of a child and with inculcating discipline or the rigours of military-style training. Rather, a teacher is a person who facilitates the acquisition of knowledge.

A teacher is the means by which the education system can ensure that students learn the contents of the syllabus established as necessary for the background knowledge of each student in order to proceed with his studies and also advance in life.

A teacher relies on textbooks and workbooks to deliver knowledge. Therefore, good textbooks are essential for them to carry out their work adequately. The teacher also regularly gives tests and examinations to make sure that the students know the syllabus.
If a teacher wants to have good students, she must have been a good student previously and done well academically. The sound academic record of a teacher is proof that she has what it takes to impart knowledge to others.

The acquisition of knowledge is best achieved when the teacher is patient, caring and understanding. The quality of understanding, in particular, is dictated by love, and since women have more love in their hearts than men, they are better suited to be teachers.

Besides facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, another essential task of the teacher is to determine the child's abilities and to spot and help develop his talent. A teacher is best suited to do this because she sees many students and thus becomes a good judge of character. Additionally, a teacher is impartial.

A teacher's assessment, on the other hand, is based on experience and backed by the child's performance in school and his test results. Assessing a child's ability correctly is vital so that the child can pursue the right career in life.

There is no doubt that women make better teachers. Being mothers, women are naturally inclined to empathise with a child's needs in the classroom. Women are also more observant, meticulous, and better organised than men. They are also better communicators, listeners and speakers. All of these are qualities necessary to a teacher. There are many jobs men can do better than women but when it comes to teaching, women have the undisputed advantage.

Teaching is not a difficult job when the right tools and the right environment are at hand. An experienced teacher will certainly find her task fairly easy to perform because teaching is a repetitive job. Monotony is probably the greatest danger to the teacher as it can make her lose focus and concentration. Thus, the biggest challenge for the teacher is not to teach, but to make sure that she keeps on teaching.

The teaching profession is suited to women because many of them are married and have families. After spending half day in school, they still have enough time to be with their families.

I believe the ministry has incorrectly interpreted the job description of teachers and thus unnecessarily extended their workload and working hours.

Friday, June 19, 2009

1 Billion people of the world undernourished

World's hungry top one billion: UN food agency
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/AfpNews/090619150637.1y2cu6pz.txt/afp

A record one billion people are undernourished around the world, the UN food agency said Friday, blaming the global financial crisis for a surge of more than 100 million hungry since last year.
Deploring "the biggest ever year-on-year increase" in world hunger, Jacques Diouf, the head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), told a news conference: "One in six human beings does not have access to food."
The FAO chief called for a "new world food order" enshrining the "right to food and thus the right to exist," urging stepped-up investment in agriculture.
Some three weeks ahead of the Group of Eight wealthy nations' summit in Italy, Diouf said: "The problem of food security is a political one. It's a question of priorities on the world agenda."

Josette Sheeran, head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), recalled food riots in several developing countries in the past two years and warned at the same news conference: "A hungry world is a dangerous world."

"With the right support, smallholder farmers can double or triple their yields," Sheeran said, adding: "Food has to be addressed as one of the pillar challenges that the world is facing."

Diouf said in a statement earlier: "A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty."

An FAO statement said 1.02 billion people do not get enough to eat and predicted an 11 percent increase for all of 2009.

An estimated 642 million of the total are in the Asia-Pacific region, the agency said in a statement. Some 265 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean and 52 million in the Middle East and north Africa.

Some 15 million are hungry in developed countries, the FAO said.

"The most recent increase in hunger is not the consequence of poor global harvests but is caused by the world economic crisis that has resulted in lower incomes and increased unemployment," the statement said.

The FAO had initially revised downward its estimate of hungry people from 963 million to 915 million because of a "better-than-expected global food supply," the agency said.

"Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, hunger has been slowly but steadily on the rise for the past decade," the FAO said.

"This year, mainly due to the shocks of the economic crisis combined with often high national food prices, the number of hungry people is expected to grow overall by about 11 percent," the agency projects.

"The silent hunger crisis... poses a serious risk for world peace and security," the statement warned. "We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions."

It noted that poor consumers spend up to 60 percent of their incomes on staple foods.

The agency will release its annual State of Food Insecurity in the World report in October.

During a Rome summit one year ago, FAO member states reaffirmed their commitment to halve world hunger by 2015, a Millennium Development Goal set in 2000 by the United Nations.

Diouf said last year that "with current trends, that goal will be attained in 2150, rather than 2015."

The food agency warned that "the urban poor will probably face the most severe problems in coping with the global recession, because lower export demand and reduced foreign direct investment are more likely to hit urban jobs harder."

However, it said, "rural areas will not be spared. Millions of urban migrants will have to return to the countryside, forcing the rural poor to share the burden in many cases."

Another view on SPM English

SPM EXAM: A simple pass not too much to ask

By : DR HAJA MOHIDEEN MOHAMED ALI Department of English International Islamic University Malaysia
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Friday/Letters/2585781/Article/index_html


INTENSE debate has been generated over the issue of whether or not to make a pass in English compulsory in the Sijil Pelajaran Malay- sia examination. A pass could mean anything between 1A (very good) and 8E (pass). So, logically, all that is required for a pass would be to obtain a minimum 8E, which is a simple pass.
Should this be difficult for our students when learning English starts from the first year of primary education and, in some cases, before that in pre-primary education centres? If the proposal to secure a basic pass in the SPM examination is to be disputed, will this not be humiliating to our English language teachers or reflect poorly on them?

The extent of exposure to the language is, of course, not the same in rural, semi-urban and urban areas. The quality of English language teaching could also be different between the cities and small towns.

But we do not have to write off rural and small-town students when it comes to English. Maybe they deserve more credit than some of us would like to give.

Another issue at stake is, do we doubt the ability of our teachers that they cannot even produce pupils who can pass English with a minimum score?
Making English a compulsory subject to pass will bring many benefits. Students will not take this international language lightly. They will be better motivated to do well in this subject to be able to get into tertiary institutions which require English for entry purposes, to seek employment in the corporate sector, to travel, to live and work abroad, interact with a global community, enjoy world literature in the language, possess a broader world view and have greater self-esteem.

Teachers, for their part, will buck up to increase the pass rate in the subject to bring honour to their schools.

In the process, they will also be raising their professional competence. Parents will show more enthusiasm to see their children do well in the subject, just as they are concerned about other subjects.

Since issues involving English have become emotive and divisive lately, should we make English an optional subject in the SPM examination? In this way. those who favour English, for example in learning Science and Mathematics, can be left to carry on as before. There would be a choice for everyone.

However, my plea is to consider a simple pass in English as compulsory in the SPM examination. This would be a worthwhile pursuit for Malaysians of all educational persuasions.

Gapena setuju syarat lulus BI

Oleh ASHRIQ FAHMY AHMAD
pengarang@utusan.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR 18 Jun - Gabungan Persatuan Penulis Nasional Malaysia (Gapena) bersetuju dengan cadangan syarat wajib lulus Bahasa Inggeris untuk mendapat Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) sekiranya lapan tuntutan mereka dipenuhi kerajaan.

Ketua Satu Gapena, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dr. Ismail Hussein berkata, Jawatankuasa Kerja Gapena yang bermesyuarat hari ini telah bersetuju untuk menyatakan sokongan terhadap cadangan Kementerian Pelajaran itu dengan beberapa syarat dipenuhi terlebih dahulu.

Katanya, syarat-syarat tersebut adalah seperti berikut:

n Memansuhkan Pembelajaran Pengajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) serta merta.

n Bahasa Melayu kekal sebagai bahasa pengantar bagi pendidikan awal sehingga ke peringkat pengajian tinggi.

n Kerajaan perlu memastikan tenaga pengajar Bahasa Inggeris yang mencukupi, berpengetahuan tinggi tentang strategi pengajaran dan pembelajaran, berketerampilan dan bersedia berkhidmat di luar bandar.

n Bahasa Melayu diwajibkan lulus peringkat kredit untuk mendapat SPM.

n Prasarana dan kemudahan alat bantu mengajar termasuk makmal bahasa yang mencukupi terutama di luar bandar.

n Syarat lulus Malaysian University English Test (MUET) untuk masuk ke pusat pengajian tinggi dibatalkan bagi pelajar yang lulus Bahasa Inggeris di peringkat SPM.

n Kesusasteraan kebangsaan dan mata pelajaran Sejarah dijadikan mata pelajaran wajib merentasi kokurikulum.

n Syarat wajib lulus Bahasa Inggeris boleh dilaksanakan setelah semua syarat di atas dipenuhi.

Bercakap pada sidang akhbar di rumah Gapena di sini hari, Ismail berkata, pihaknya telah membincangkan syarat itu secara mendalam dan berharap kementerian dapat memahami tuntutan tersebut.

''Gapena akan menentang cadangan syarat lulus Bahasa Inggeris itu sekiranya pihak kementerian tidak melaksanakan syarat-syarat tersebut,'' ujarnya.

Hadir sama pada sidang akhbar tersebut ialah Setiausaha Satu Gapena, Prof. Madya Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan dan Jawatankuasa Gapena, Datuk Dr. Aziz Deraman dan Datuk Tengku Alaudin T. A. Majid.

Syarat-syarat itu akan dimajukan kepada kementerian hari ini juga bagi mendapatkan maklum balas segera dan Gapena mengharapkan pihak kementerian dapat mengadakan perbincangan terbuka dengan pihaknya.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

TO ENGLISH OR NOT TO ENGLISH:

SRITHARAN PALANISAMY

Two important decisions are to be made soon. Firstly, should English be made a compulsory subject to pass in SPM? The second is that whether the teaching of Mathematics and Science will continue to be in English or in Bahasa? On English as a compulsory subject in SPM, I feel that apart from Bahasa Melayu, English is the next important language that Malaysian students should be encouraged to be competent and fluent. English is also the de facto international communication language.

It cannot be denied that research and reference materials are in abundance in English, as compared with other languages in the world. Hence, studying and teaching a subject in English becomes easy and trouble free. The changes in the international communication and dealings have further strengthened the domination of English. The outsourcing, offshore dealings, the borderless trade arena and electronic business (e Business) activities have one thing in common. They all strengthen the dominance and the importance of English. Therefore, only those countries which have the capacity and capability, of being fully self relient and rich in all resources could afford to ignore the influence of English, i.e. Japan, China, Russia and France.

Unfortunately, we must admit that Malaysia has not reached that stage yet. The excuse that the rural students are weak in English is a delicate issue where the Education Ministry should come up with a practical solution. However, the agenda and the aspirations of the Malaysian Education System should not be compromised. I strongly believe that the students from the rural background would definitely perform well in English if it is made compulsory to pass. They would do whatever that is necessary to improve their English.

Fluency in and a strong command of English would be an added advantage to graduates in a highly competitive job market. I agree with those who say that the strong foundation in English would also give them self-confidence and self-respect. Unfortunately, there are many graduates of various ethnic origins who hesitate to communicate with others in English. The reason for this is that of having the phobia of speaking in English. The only way to change this for the betterment of these graduates is to change their mindset, attitude and the perspective of the students it is better to make English as a compulsory subject to pass at SPM level.

Meanwhile, on the issue of teaching of mathematics and science in English, I thnik we should take separate approaches when teaching the subjects as both subjects have different magnitude of English vocabulary. Mathematics is a subject that involves mainly figures. The command of English needed here is quite basic. Therefore, it is not taxing for the students to study Mathematics in English right from the standard 1 of primary school.

On the other hand, science is mostly theoretical which needs illustrations, descriptions and understanding of certain terminologies. Thus, a reasonable foundation in the English vocabulary and the knowledge of the so-called "bombastic" words are needed. Malaysian students would find it quite difficult irrespective of their geographical location and ethnic background. They would definitely face an uphill task of studying science from primary school. So, it is better to teach Science in English only from Form One of the secondary school (after the students have acquired the basic English needed to study Science). Finally, I feel the National Education Policy should pull up the students to meet its standards. It should not go down to the students’ level just to accommodate them.

taken from

www.bernama.com.my

Monday, June 15, 2009

ENglish

ENGLISH: Move is long overdue
By : HAYATI NORDIN, Subang Jaya
(www.nst.com.my)


NO one who agrees that English is a global language can have anything against making it a compulsory language for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination.
Claiming that teaching the language to rural students may pose problems is not a good reason for not doing so.

If rural students could do it 40 years ago, I don't see why the present generation can't do it as well. We have better facilities these days and extra classes could always be held for students who need them.

Other nations have forged forward with their English-proficiency programmes. Why are we still arguing about it?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why English is very important

Why English is very important

I AM a third-year medical student studying in Universiti Malaya. As we read and hear about the endless debate over the issue of the English language and our education system, I would like to offer my perspective as a student on this issue.

I come from an SJK primary school, attended a government secondary school and completed the local matriculation course before entering university.

I realise that those who want less English in the education system are afraid that the Malay language will suffer. However, as a student, our official language, the status or importance of Bahasa Malaysia, has never been threatened.

It will always be our national language and I am proud of that, but it is not sufficient to only learn Bahasa Malaysia and neglect the other languages. And English is becoming a necessity if a country wants to ride the wave of globalisation.

Taking a walk down memory lane, we have Za’aba (Tan Sri Dr Haji Zainal Abidin Ahmad) who was known as the “peneroka tatabahasa Melayu” or the founder of Malay grammar. The Malay literature that he wrote is being used till this very day. His museum (Teratak Za’aba) in Bahau is a memorial of his contribution to this nation.

As we look at his education background, we discover that he was the first Malay from Negri Sembilan to have completed his Senior Cambridge. The museum contains beautiful letters between him and his children, written in English, Malay and Arabic.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, in his fight for Independence would not have made it had he not mastered the English language. Ambassadors and diplomats to foreign countries have to be able to speak English in order to communicate with people from other nations. The tourism industry in Malaysia would collapse without the English language.

Do we consider Za’aba or Tunku less of a Malaysian, less patriotic, or less united?

They were among the many reasons that Malaysia exists today. I daresay that the English language was one of the key tools to our Independence and our development right till today. To neglect the English language will only push us backward.

We must realise that Malaysia is a multi-cultural country with than over a hundred ethnicities and is therefore a multi-lingual country. Trying to unite races with one language alone is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It will never work.

Entering first-year in university, we were shocked to see students mixing according to their ethnicity and the main dividing factor being our language of communication. Only a small group of students who spoke more than one language fluently was made up of students of different races. We all know the importance of inter-cultural understanding in unity; but how are we going to achieve that by only learning one language?

I say all this not to bring down the Malay language but to remind us that it is our duty as a responsible Malaysian citizen to improve ourselves in every way we can - including learning the other languages. To make English compulsory to pass SPM; to teach Science and Mathematics in English - is a step in the right direction.

TIMOTHY CHENG,

Director of the Unity and Community Affairs Bureau,

Student Representative Council 2008/2009,

Universiti Malaya

taken from www.thestar.com.my
(12/6/09)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Compulsory to Pass English in Any Public Exams"


Well its about time the Education Ministry comes up with this idea. After all these years nothing much has been done to alleviate the weakness of our students in English. Yes is it true the Ministry implemented the PPSMI to help and prepare the students in the real world of science and technology which i think has helped a lot in improving students performance but if we look at the big picture it failed tremendously to help the majority of the students who have problems in the language itself. Let us reflect how much PPSMI has done to help the students especially those who are in the rural area? And not to forget the Science and Mathematics teachers. To what extent have their performance in the area of teaching english in science and mathematics improved?

From my observation, it is sad to say, they have learned nothing. After spending millions, the results do not reflect the amount of money and time we spent to help those teachers to use English to teach the subject. One of my students came to see me and complained about the teacher who used 100% BM teaching Biology. I couldnt answer her and it was quite an embarrassment to the teacher and to me as well. How can a class of weak students have the opportunity to improve if they are taught those subjects which sound gibberish to them?

Ironically , all the PPSMI teachers from my school failed in their PPSMI Exam conducted in the mid of June 2008. They either obtained Band 2 or 1. The passing band is Band 3. I was the Team Leader of a group of English teachers conducting Speaking Assessment to all the PPSMI in my areaand it 95% from nearly 1200 PPSMI teachers in my area,were unable to speak acceptable english during their speaking test. Based on feedbacks from the Writing Test , their performance were so bad . Even graduate teachers couldnt even string a good sentence. So E-Tems failed terribly and miserably in its quest to help those teachers.

While it is good that the government is willing to relax its stance on continuing PPSMI and try a new altenative, but we need to be mindful that whatever decision we are making, we cant afford to be make decision based on political views. If that the case, Im sure the implementation would fail. Whatever we do, it has to be for the sake of the children, not to involve politics. Lets there'll be no controversies otherwise it could jeopardise our aims to arm the students be it domestically or internationally.

One of the problems will be encounter in the initial stage of implementing the new alternative is that do we have enough manpower aka English teachers?? Of course our very own local universities offer TESL( Teaching of English as Second Language) to students but the question is how good they are ? Are they fully prepared? Or are they Linguistically Competent in teaching the language? Im not so sure about that. The reason is that most of the graduates are ill prepared.I was also horrified to learn that this local graduates are not competent. This is due to the fact that theire command of English is in question here. It is sad to see that Fresh TESL teachers nowadays are not on par. From my experience i notice that most of them whom i talked to were unable to use grammatically correct english while communicating with others. So it is not a surprise to read their writing piece with gross grammatical errors especially the "Subject Verb Agreement". It makes me wonder who is at fault here? The students? or the ministry? To me, in order to be an English teacher, there are many aspects we need to decide whether they are eligible. The most important element is their proficiency in all the four skills in English but i guess those people in the ministry have overlooked this important element and now they live to tell all about it. As a result they can barely make good public speeches and unable to use proper grammar due to their limited linguistic skills. So how are they going to teach appropriately??

My suggestions

1. Teach Grammar separately from the main English Language. As for now the teaching of English is merely on communicative English. So they students still are having hard time understand the structural part of it. At the moment schools are only alloted 5 periods of English subject. So it would be better if i considerable time to be allocated for teaching grammar as well.

2. Yes make it compulsory to pass English Subject . So students would be more motivated to learn the subject so they will be able to function domestically or internationally. Offer more perks for those who obtain distinction in that subject such as scholarships. loans and other things that they ministry see fit.

3. Similar to PPSMI , Im of the opinion that they ministry should allow a period or time, say make it 5 years to allow students to learn English and by the time they are sitting for SPM they will be able to pass the subject. So it will be fair for all. Otherwise the students in rural school would lose out to those in the Urbans.

4. Make sure that only genuine candidates to be given the opportunity to teach English. Only accept those who obtain A1 or A2 in their SPM or Band 4 onwards in MUET. Of course elegibility or assessment test must be conducted to ensure validity. Make sure they fully have operational command of the spoken language. It means they are able to handle communication in most situations, including unfamiliar or unexpected ones.and also ble to use accurate and appropriate linguistic resources to express complex ideas and concepts and produce extended discourse that is coherent otheriwise it would be impossible for them to deliver especially in the secondary school.


5. Teach English as a language and not as a subject. Make Malaysian interested in the language before getting to master English. This is the first priority the ministry has to deal with. Im sure they will get a lot of problems from other non governmental organisations such as GAPENA and the oppositions and in the end the Government will be branded as unpatriotic for deliberately worshipping or glorifying colonial language than its own . It means they are going to get less votes from the voters and BN cannot afford to take that chances. I know its a Herculean task,So please no politics.

Of course to implement this, it cannot be done overnight. Im sure it will be a success in future if all of us join hands to overcome whatever obstacles before us.


More On English a Must Pass Subject

Many object to making English a ‘must pass’ SPM subject

By KAREN CHAPMAN


PETALING JAYA: Most of the 500 views received by the Education Ministry as at the end of office hours yesterday are against any move to make English compulsory in order to obtain the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate.

A ministry official said those who contacted the ministry wanted the status quo to remain.

“We started receiving telephone calls from 10am until 5.30pm yesterday,” she said.

From today, she said people could telephone the ministry’s hunting line at 03-7723-7070 with their views from 8am to 5.30pm.

“There are 27 lines and we have enough people manning them,” she said.

People can also e-mail their views to kpkpm@moe.gov.my or send a fax to 03-7710-8880.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said he was surprised to learn that English was not a “must pass” subject for SPM and wanted public feedback on the matter.

The Education Minister said it was a revelation to him as he had always thought that it was a prerequisite since students had to learn English in school.

He said he was also shocked to learn that national schools no longer taught English grammar.

Muhyiddin said students were now merely learning communicative English.

“This means they are picking up the language for communication purposes only,” he said, adding that almost 70% of students who take English passed the subject.

A pass in English has never been compulsory for SPM. Since 2000, a pass in

Bahasa Malaysia was sufficient to get the SPM certificate. Previously, a credit was a must.

English as compulsory SPM pass subject?

English as compulsory SPM pass subject?
By : Suganthi Suparmaniam

KUALA LUMPUR, Mon:

Should English be made a compulsory passing subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia? This is the question thrown to the public by Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who wants to know if it should be done by the government.

Muhyiddin, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said he was surprised that English is not made a compulsory passing subject in SPM, despite the language being declared as the second language of the country.

He said it is also disturbing that grammar was not being emphasised in schools but rather its communicative aspects.

“I want to ask the public can we introduce grammar and make English compulsory to pass SPM. We want feedback,” he said in his speech before launching the Kirkby College Alumni Association inaugural general meeting today.

“I did not make any decision on it. I want to give a chance to the people to give their views. I will deliberate it in the ministry,” he added.
Muhyiddin said the reason why English was not made a compulsory passing subject before was because it was thought that it would affect students from rural areas.

“Until now, we don’t have to pass English to get a SPM certificate. It’s not compulsory to pass English, let alone score credit or distinction,” he said.

Those who wish to give their feedback on the matter, can contact the ministry at 03-8884 6000 or visit the ministry’s website at www.moe.gov.my.

“It was very revealing to me. I thought you must pass English, but was told that we don’t have to,” he added.

On teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, Muhyiddin said it is a critical issue and that he will make announcement in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, the proposed move was backed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed. The former Prime Minister said making it compulsory should be a pre-requisite, Farrah Naz Karim reports from PUTRAJAYA.

Dr Mahathir said mastering the language would not only better prepare Malaysian students for globalisation but give them an edge in securing jobs.

“(However at the end of the day,) it is up to parents to decide because it concerns the future of their children, not that of the government.
“Without a strong command of the language, it will be difficult for them to study abroad or secure good jobs as they would be required to be able to converse well in the international language,” he said after being conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Humanity by the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, today.

However, Dr Mahathir anticipated that the proposal would be strongly opposed by those only interested in pushing for their political mileage and not in the quality of education.

“These people are not interested in (our children’s) education or acquiring knowledge. All they want to do is to see how much support they can get. I am afraid if they do that (reject the stress on English), the country will go to the dogs,” he said.

On the government’s pending decision on the Teaching and Learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI), Mahathir said he would feel sorry for the younger generation if the government decided to revert to teaching the subjects back to Bahasa Malaysia.

“If that is the case, in future, all Malays and Malaysians will be “bodoh” (dumb),” he said.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

PPSMI IN A LIMBO

PPSMI is heading to its early demise now. People are talking about the pros and the cons. The government is trying to persuade and convince the publics pertaining to its relevance in this time of science and technology and globalization era. Where as the Opposition doesn’t share the same view and trying to capitalize the issues for political mileage. We see lots of demos around KL lately protesting the use of English in teaching and learning Science and Math Subjects. These people are willing to go all out to the extent of making themselves heard clearly by DYMM. Ironically this was not the case when PPSMI was proposed and implemented during Tun Mahathir. Why now? Why making it a fuss after all these years? Lots of money spent and not to mention the effort made by the teachers and all educators. We are already half way reaching our goal and all of a sudden we are being forced to pack up and leave.

People were so happy and excited about it. We were excited as well! Mind you the extra 5% incentive being credited into our salary. Teachers received the much awaited “state of the art” so called teaching and learning devices namely the laptops and lcd projectors. The government had to spend nearly a billion ringgit just to make that first few small steps towards academic excellence. It was a blessing for all the teachers nationwide. All of the sudden we were showered with devices which we would never dreamt of owning what more to buy them?? It was expensive buying a laptop during those days. The cheapest would cost around RM4500. But now it becomes a toy. Ironically I don’t own a laptop myself . I was one of the lucky teachers given the opportunity to use the devices. And I got a MAC IBOOK G4 and boy it was durable. Been using it for more than 6 years now and it is still in good shape except for the LCD Projector which is not working maybe due to the Bulb which has reached its life expectancy. 5% incentive is not much compared to 10% received by non graduate teachers but it was enough to lend us some sort of support in sustaining our monthly needs. Well, we were not let off the hook so easily. It comes with a price and its not for free. English teachers like us were given the task to supervise math and science teachers to build their confidence in using English in their lessons. Besides that we were also instructed to give courses and support groups call “Buddy Support Group” Well there is no such thing as free meal! Still the money is good. Throughout the implementation since its inception we heard grouses from the teachers. They had a hard time to get use themselves with the new environment. Though not all but quite a number of the teachers failed miserably in the process. E-TEMS were introduced to train them. Lots of money spent but the results were bad. Teachers having mental block unable to follow the course. Their motivations were somehow gradually failing on them and they turned to teaching in Bahasa Melayu. Last year, PPSMI teachers went for an assessment test/ The test was more or less similar to MUET examination format testing their 4 skills and I was one of the examiners who were given the task to supervise a group of examiners in my district. We were utterly shocked by the encounter. Just imagine, majority of them unable to speak with grammatically correct English. Worst still quite a number if them could only speak at phrase level. I don’t have the stats. Only the Ministry has it and they should know by now the level of proficiency among the PPSMI teachers in Malaysia. Based from the feedback from other examiners they also did poorly in written test. So this is the real situation suffered by PPSMI teachers. Maybe based on these feedbacks the GMP is harping on this issue to end PPSMI for good .As for me PPSMI is not that bad after all. It is a fact English is the common language used worldwide. Many parents see its benefit. It is just that many people are just reluctant to see its importance or plain ignorance or they are having personal agendas.I do not know. One should master the language in order to capitalise knowledge and information . Many parents want it to continue too. Malaysians need to move forward as knowledge society. PPSMI should be continued but of course the Education Ministry must try to look into the real problem affecting the implementation of PPSMI. My suggestion is gearing up the teachers themselves is the best possible solution in order to make PPSMI a success. Lavishing them with laptops is not important but the change of mindset is. Gudluck MOE!

The chinese in Malaysia Part 2

Pt 2: A Very Brief History Of The Malaysian Chinese

Taken from:
http://notsleepinganymore.blogspot.com


Chinese Immigrant Society


Not many Malaysians today realise that the majority of the early Chinese immigrants to Malaya were the underclass of society then.

With no rights and no money to protect them, the Chinese immigrants were an extremely vulnerable section of society. They were not citizens and therefore it was easy to get away with abusing them or to take advantage of them, as they would get no legal recourse or protection from the government. Many of them arrived with only the clothes on their backs, having given their last copper coins or borrowed heavily to pay for passage to Malaya, so there was no way to get home if things turned sour – which it often did. It was a make or break, “get rich or die trying” choice for many of the Chinese who came to Malaya.

Chinese immigrants could be broadly divided into the educated classes and the uneducated classes. But the majority of the Chinese immigrants were from the uneducated classes, recruited to work mainly in the tin mines and construction sector.


A. THE UNEDUCATED CLASSES

It was a hard life for many of these people. Instead of rich prospects they expected, many were subject to the life of indentured labourers – little more than slaves. For the towkays and Tuans, the masses of desperate Chinese immigrants arriving on Malayan shores was a godsend because it ensured a never ending supply of cheap labour. And these people PAID FOR THEMSELVES to come to Malaya to work.

But instead of leading a better life, many Chinese lived a hard and dangerous life. Labour laws did not apply back then. You either did the work at whatever pay the boss wanted to give you, or you could find your own way and figure out a way how to get out of your massive immigration debts yourself. Safety was also the labourers own responsibility as the bosses had little economic incentive to safeguard their workers.

So instead of moving up in society, many Chinese found they had stumbled into another society where they remained at the bottom. Their situation was made worse since they were far from home and family support, and had no chance of turning back. This sense of uprootedness and helplessness gave rise to many social problems as many Chinese chose to take out their frustrations in various ways – fights, family abuse, opium addiction, gambling, drunkenness, prostitution, etc.

But there were also many who didn't give in to despair and continued to hope for a better life. These Chinese immigrants quickly learnt to practise the Confucian values of adaptation and quiet submission to minimise their society's negative impact on their lives. At the same time, they patiently and diligently did their work and kept a sharp eye out for any opportunity that might arise. When opportunity did arise, they were ready and quick to grab it. Several of these people would later rise to become the new tycoons of Malaya. Lim Goh Tong is one of the most notable among these people – he was nothing more than a mere construction worker when he arrived from China.

Despite the social problems, the Chinese community was still left to fend for themselves by the authorities. Being non-citizens, they were of no interest to them unless their unrest spilled outside of their own communities. So the task of maintaining order fell onto the shoulders of the Chinese themselves. Thus, the Chinese immigrants community was forced to evolve its own social structure.

But more on that topic later.


B. THE EDUCATED CLASSES

Many from the educated classes - scholars, teachers, artists, doctors, traders etc – also migrated to Malaya to escape the unrest in China. Some came on humanitarian grounds because they saw a need to support the immigrants who had come before. Some came to take advantage of the opportunities their skills would open up for them among the immigrant Chinese community.

Whatever their motives, this class of people played a major role in developing Chinese immigrant society. They provided education, healthcare, entertainment, employment opportunities and civic leadership, which helped bring about stability within the community.


C. THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION TO THE IMMIGRANT CHINESE

Most of the uneducated immigrants held these people in high regard, especially teachers, as they saw that they were subject to a life of hardship because of their illiteracy. Back in China, education was an extremely valuable commodity that was out of reach of the peasants. Traditionally, an education would open the doors to 2 main career paths – business or civil service (and these two paths frequently intermingled). Whichever path one chose, it was a way to riches and success. And those who were illiterate were often intimidated by the educated classes, who cheated them with unfair contracts, kangaroo courts and such abuse that took advantage of their ignorance.

It was hard for most at the bottom-of-the-foodchain to afford an education in China. And most coolies and peasants had to have every available hand in the family working to survive – so few could afford to let go of their children to go to school. What made it more difficult was their social standing – the poor were very aware of their place in society and even if they could afford it, it would be extremely difficult to be enrolled in a school as they would be looked down upon. So societal rules effectively kept the poor uneducated in their place.

But in Malaya, the Chinese had a fighting chance to access education. Chinese societal rules were not so entrenched in the immigrant society. Many poor parents worked hard and sacrificed much in order to afford the school fees so that their children could have an education.

Because with even a basic education, their children could at least have a chance to access better opportunities. Even entry level employment such as becoming clerks or shop assistants was a a far better deal than what their parents had to accept. Although many children did not or could not complete their studies, it was a typical parents' dream to have their children study to as high a level as possible, so that they could access more opportunities.

To this day, education is still a major issue among Malaysian Chinese. The same attitude of their immigrant forefathers has been deeply driven into the psyche of many 2nd and 3rd generation of Malaysian Chinese (especially those from Chinese-stream schools). That's why many Malaysian Chinese parents will willingly sell or re-mortgage their homes, take up part-time jobs or businesses, or borrow money to pay for their children's education.

Ask any typical Malaysian Chinese parent - they will expect nothing less than excellent exam results from their children. And the rationale for this still remains the same – “study hard, get a good qualification so that you can have a better life than your parents, and your parents will do whatever it takes to support you”.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The History of Chinese in Malaysia Part 1

I came across to a political blog recently called "Eyes wide Open". Love to read his side of the story pertaining to the latest happenings in Malaysia and the latest updates of the country's political situation. One of the writings in his blogs is concerning the Chinese in Malaysia who have been widely prejudiced and mis judged of their existence in Malaysia. Here take a read of what this blogger has to say .....

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pt 1: A Very Brief History Of The Malaysian Chinese

taken from ..... http://notsleepinganymore.blogspot.com/

Many Malaysians today regard the Chinese as the dominant economic force in Malaysia. Some have even accused the Malaysian Chinese of wanting to not only dominate the economy but also the politics of the country. This has given rise to various unpleasant stereotypes of the Malaysian Chinese. As a result, many reactionary insults and derogatory terms have been hurled at the general Malaysian Chinese population.

I would like to present a very brief history of the Malaysian Chinese to help people understand their fellow Malaysians better. And perhaps help them look at the Malaysian Chinese as fellow humans and citizens, and not as the greedy alien monsters that many have made them out to be.

Perhaps it is time to remember that the Chinese have a history in Malaysia spanning almost 400 years, reaching back to the time of the Melaka Sultanate. These Chinese immigrants and the latter day ones did not manipulate their way into this land, but made a conscious choice to settle here and contribute their blood, sweat and tears to this country. Many made a heartbreaking choice when they chose to be Malayans (and later, Malaysians) and not Chinese.

This series is absolutely NOT meant to be an exhaustive history lesson. My aim is just to provide a broad-strokes understanding of the Malaysian Chinese, and perhaps illustrate how their history has shaped their psyche today. If anyone takes exception that I'm generalising too much – too bad. Go and write your own account then! I'll be happy to publish your opus in this blog.


Chinese Immigration To Tanah Melayu

There were 2 main waves of Chinese immigration to Malaya.

The first wave was during the Melaka Sultanate. These Chinese were mainly traders who came to Melaka to trade, and for various reasons stayed on in Melaka and made it their home. They married the locals and merged into the local culture. Their descendants are the Straits-born Chinese, or popularly known as the Baba and Nyonya.

The Baba/Nyona culture is a true melting pot of Chinese and Malay influences. Many cultural traditions retained their Chinese flavour – e.g. celebrations and architecture. But many other aspects took on a Malay flavour – clothes, food and language being the most obvious ones. The traditional Baba/Nyonya wore baju kebaya, speaks Bahasa Melayu as well as the Malays and their cooking is laden with the spices. It is worth remembering that the Baba/Nyonya have been in Malaysia for almost as long as the Malays, as their ancestors arrived on this land mere decades after Parameswara.

The second wave of immigrants came during the British era, mainly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Masses of Chinese were brought in to work as hard labour, mainly in the mines and the construction industry. Most of them arrived from the poorer southern provinces of China – Hainan Island (Hainanese), Guagzhou (Cantonese), Fuzhou (Hokkien & Hockchiew), etc.

Those who came during this era were mostly the uneducated folk who were fleeing the social breakdown arising from political decline of China. They were the bottom-of-the-foodchain folks who found it increasingly difficult to make a living in times of unrest. And without an education, there was no hope for them to advance upwards of the foodchain.

Thus, they made the decision to sojourn to other lands in search of opportunity. Many went to California (popularly called Kam San or “Gold Mountain”) to work in the gold mines. Many thought they were going to strike it rich as prospectors. Little did they know that they were just going to be menial workers for the rich towkays who operated the mines.

Many others came to Malaysia (popularly known as Nam Yeong or the “South Seas”). They too were sold on the dreams of rich opportunities for a better life in Malaya by immigration agents. And they too arrived to find themselves the serfs of the rich towkays. For all their dreams of a better life - they remained at the bottom of the foodchain in the new country.

These immigrants typically had to pay for their own passage to Malaya, as well as the exorbitant agents fees for bringing them over. They left behind their families, sold all they had or took hefty loans for a chance at a better life in a strange land. Many left with the hope of making it big in a few years and returning home to retire with their riches.

These early Chinese immigrants' situation is not too unlike the foreign workers who arrive on our shores from Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, etc. But these modern day immigrants have it much better than the early Chinese immigrants as they have some rights and freedoms, and plenty of opportunity - even if they are not citizens.