Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

April 25, 2019


After a meet-up with the Chief Minister of Sarawak state Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg, the Minister of Education Dr Maszlee announced Sarawak state had consented to initiate the reactivation of the Use of English in Math and Science Teaching. Dong Zong and Jiao Zong are greatly concerned about the proceedings and herewith furnish their statement as follows:


Dong Jiao Zong pointed out, the Use of English in Math and Science Teaching approach was launched in 2003 and had evidently brought about negative effect towards students’ learning, apart from fund and resource wasted. The policy was later abolished in 2009 after having been found a failure nationwide. Bearing this in mind, Dong Jiao Zong strongly opposes to its reactivation as it is a similar error commitment. The reactivation essentially sacrifices students’ learning right by experimenting them, including posing harm towards national education, and there will be the devil to pay as anticipated.


Following Dr Maszlee’s announcement, will it translate that similar measure to be implemented in other states nationally? Attributed to the seminal impact the measure brings about, Dong Jiao Zong urges the Ministry of Education to release the details of the to-be-imposed policy.


Dong Jiao Zong knows that the effectiveness and superiority of employing mother tongue as the medium of instruction in learning has long been recognised by both the UNESCO and the world. The mother tongue approach is evidenced to be fruitful and effective at primary level as it makes learning easier (including Math and Science subject) for elementary students in general. Taking this indication, Dong Jiao Zong opposes to the reactivation of the said policy not only due to the critical role mother tongue education plays, but also the destructive harm mentioned it brings about. Moreover, it is clearly stated in the “Education Act 1996” that the medium of instruction for vernacular schools is their mother tongue; as such, the reactivation of the Use of English in Math and Science Teaching measure is against the “Education Act 1996” and erodes the core of mother tongue education.


Take national-type Chinese primary schools for instance, if English is used in Math and Science teaching, the overall periods using Chinese as medium of instruction will decrease at a large scale. In addition, in the summative examination for Grade Six students, viz., UPSR, except the Comprehension and Composition Writing sections in the Chinese language subject, all other papers will be tested in non-Chinese. This practice will surely pose harm to the unique characteristics of vernacular schools.


Dong Jiao Zong totally espouses the government’s effort in the promotion of English proficiency, but not using English in the teaching of other subjects at primary level. We believe, for optimal English learning, we want to comply with the established Second Language Acquisition theories; that said, starting from the English subject itself for a comprehensive reform and promotion is thought to be the most proper and effective approach. Dong Jiao Zong believes that to promote English proficiency scientifically, the following factors are accountable: learning objectives, curriculum, learning duration, learning materials, pedagogy, teaching force and facilities, etc.


Dong Jiao Zong once again calls for the safeguard of mother tongue education for optimal learning results and wishes all stakeholders and organisations concerned would stand firm in the opposition of using English in Math and Science teaching measure to be reactivated, in particular all Chinese communities in Sarawak state and the schools’ Board of Directors, Alumni Associations, Parent and Teacher Associations and organisations germane. It is for the sake of mother tongue education maintenance and assurance of learning Math and Science in mother tongue for successful learning.