KUALA LUMPUR: New school, new uniform, new books. But that will not be all that is new for thousands of Year One and Form One students when they go back to school this year.
With the implementation of the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English at both levels, students also have to prepare for a new medium of instruction in the two subjects.
Their maths and science lessons will definitely not be the same for the teachers and students who are starting school today in Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu, and the rest of the country tomorrow.
Thirteen-year-old Nabilah S. who will be starting Form One tomorrow is excited by the prospects,
“I am quite nervous but I will try my best to cope with my lessons. Before the holidays, my Year Six teacher advised us to start preparing for our science and maths by doing lots of exercises in English during the holidays.
“I’ve done that, so I think I can manage,” she said.
All schools have been given teaching and learning tools including notebook computer, LCD projector and interactive software to aid teachers and students in implementing the groundbreaking policy.
The equipment and teaching software are an essential component for the successful implementation of the Government’s decision to teach the two subjects in English for the first time in schools after Bahasa Malaysia was made the medium of instruction in the mid-1970s.
On Friday, Education director-general Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat gave assurance that schools were ready for the switch.
He said 99% of the 9,198 schools in the country had received the equipment while some schools in Sabah and Sarawak will receive them by the start of school tomorrow.
Parent Norshina Abdullah believed the switch would be advantageous for Year One pupils.
“It will improve their standard of English. But for Form One students, it will be a bit difficult because they have done six years in Bahasa Malaysia.”
However, she added, with the right preparation, it will be easy for them.
Another person who has been busy getting ready for her Form One lessons is teacher Salbiah Ali.
“I have been practising my lessons for the new year and feel more confident now.
“A few of my colleagues and I have been calling each other during the holidays to discuss points.
“We have also been sharing ideas to boost each other’s morale and gear up for school this year,” she added.
For Maureen Lim who has been teaching maths for more than 10 years, the challenge was one that she was looking forward to.
“I am excited especially In using the laptop and LCD to make my lessons more interesting,” she said.
A total of 27,543 teachers have undergone courses to prepare for the new move including 2,585 from Chinese and 927 from Tamil schools. To help the less proficient teachers, instructional language will be provided through teaching scripts in English.