I REFER to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on current education policy (The Star, Nov 19) and the comments made by Datin Nor Azimah Abdul Rahim, Chairman, Parent Action Group For Education Malaysia (PAGE) and Samuel Yesuiah (The Star, Nov 20).
The present government should listen to Dr Mahathir on the role of the English language. As Prime Minister for more than two decades, he travelled far and wide and met people from all continents.
He knows the importance of English in today’s world. For the good of the future generations of Malaysia, he is speaking out. It is sad that his successors in the government should throw out his policy on the teaching of science and mathematics in English in our schools.
The Government should not be afraid to identify an appropriate number of schools throughout the country and allow more time for English to be taught. Whether that would make these schools English-medium or not is immaterial.
Learn from former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. He said that it does not matter whether a cat is black or white: a cat that can catch rats is a good cat.
Do not make parents, especially middle-income parents, tighten their belts in order to send their children to international schools. English should be made available to those Malaysians who want to study it.
Our national schools are capable of producing good students. After Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, they enrol for an ‘A’ Level course and some of them have done well.
As interviewer for admission to Harvard College for two decades, I am happy to report that a fair number of Malaysian students have succeeded in getting admission. They include Nathaniel Tan, Nicholas Khaw, Wan Nadiah, Jacintha Tagal, Bilqis Hijjas and Mulaika Hijjas.
More time to study English in national schools would produce more students to compete for admission to Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge.
I have confidence in our young Malaysians. They are entirely capable of mastering the English language, provided they are given the opportunity to do so.
DATUK DR GOH CHENG TEIK