KUCHING: Sarawak will start teaching Mathematics and Science in English for Year One pupils starting next year, says state Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin.
He said this would involve 1,046 primary schools statewide, except for Chinese-medium schools which preferred to continue teaching both subjects in Mandarin for now.
A total of 2,657 Year One teachers will be trained to teach both subjects in English, comprising 1,005 Science teachers, 1,275 Mathematics teachers and 377 teachers of both subjects.
"We are not going to make any U-turn.
"We are going to start the implementation of using English as a medium of instruction for Maths and Science next year.
"We cannot be too ambitious, so we will start with Year One," he told reporters at his office here on Wednesday (May 29).
Manyin said the federal Education Ministry would come up with a training module for the teachers, which should be ready by the end of August.
He said textbooks for both subjects would be printed by the state, based on the Dual Language Programme (DLP) textbooks.
"For the first year, it will cost about RM9mil to train the teachers and print the materials.
"I will go to Kuala Lumpur to see how much we can get (from the Federal Government), but the Chief Minister is also prepared to help," he said.
Manyin called on the public, especially parents and community leaders, to support the programme.
"This is good for Sarawak, good for our future and good for our children. And this idea is not from us; it's from the current Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad," he said.
On April 24, during a courtesy call with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik had conveyed the Prime Minister's request for Sarawak to take the lead in teaching Mathematics and Science in English.
Manyin said district education offices would hold dialogues with any parents or community leaders who had doubts about the programme.
However, he said he did not anticipate many objections to it.
"There has been a positive response from parents.
"A lot of them said we have been waiting for too long," he said.