On its front page today Star newspaper revealed that English is the choice of many Year Six pupils when they answered their exam papers on Maths and Science. Pupils had the option to answer the papers in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil or a combination of the three. Pupils who answered the Science paper in English shot up by more than 100 times while those who answered the Math paper in English jumped by more than 200 times. Of the 518,616 pupils who sat for the exam, 159,234 pupils (31%) answered the Science paper in English while 238,153 (46%) answered the Math paper in English. Last year, only 1,324 pupils answered the Science paper in English and 1,075 answered the Math paper in English.
The statistics would seem to suggest that the Policy did not fail in toto. On the contrary, more and more pupils are willing and confident in using English for the two subjects. However, the picture would be clearer if a comparison in the use of English between urban and rural students is made. That would provide a more balanced picture on the whole situation.
So what is it going to be, many parents would ask. The Education Ministry had announced earlier that the decision whether to continue with the Policy would be announced after the Primary school assessment. However, it said today that this year's examination result will not be the basis to decide whether to continue with the Policy or to revert to the use of Bahasa Malaysia for the two subjects. Rather, other stakeholders, including parents' views would be considered. It looks like the Ministry is holding on to a hot potato.