State education minister says still too early to judge use of English for Science, Maths in Sarawak schools after two years

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, Aug 30 — The Sarawak government believes it is premature to make a proper assessment on having primary school pupils learn Science and Mathematics after only two years.

Sarawak Education, Innovation and Talent Development Minister Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn said the state’s decision to introduce English as the medium of instruction for the two subjects only began with Standard One classes in 2020, with the teachers trained to do so only one year prior.

“So, we can only make good assessments when these students have reached Primary Six class,” he told reporters after closing the three-day digital and innovation lab organised by the Sarawak Digital Economy Development Corporation here today.

“But I believe that the teaching is going smoothly right now,” he added. He said the federal government, then led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had acceded to Sarawak’s request to have the two subjects taught in English in 2019.

Sagah believed that Sarawak has been right to insist that Science and Mathematics be taught in English.

“We have not regretted, because English is a language of knowledge and science. You can see that many developed countries are using English.

“And we were very happy with it. I think we have done quite well with it. But of course we want to get more students from the B40 group to learn other subjects in English as well,” he said.

He said it is for this reason that the state government has set up international schools using English as the medium of instruction.

Sagah also said the federal Education Ministry has not interfered “so far” with the state government’s policy on having the two subjects taught in English.

Earlier in his speech, Sagah said the state government remains committed to having Science and Mathematics taught in English.

“There is no turning back on our part,” he said.