I had blogged this topic in December 2008 (PART 1) last year when the topic was widely debated. Now the debate is back as headlines in most medias again 6 months later, presumably due to a new Minister of Education.
Yes, learning Mathematics and Science in English had stirred an endless debate over and over again but when the dust had not settled, the capping of SPM subject was raised to avoid kiasu parents from abusing students with endless tuition and extra classes to achieve 20 'A's.
The debate or discussion for both issues is still on-going and now came into light yet another issue... English as a compulsory SPM pass subject (see:NST)
All these three issues share one similar obstacle which i feel the government is trying to address, the lack of competent teacher population to teach Mathematics and science in English as well as 111 electives for SPM subjects but why raise the English as a compulsory SPM PASS subject now?
The problem with teaching Mathematics and Science in English is less on the children or students capability to adapt. Children adapt better to changes especially during early years. Our main obstacle is in sourcing for capable teachers to teach in English. one of the reason to capped the SPM subjects to a maximum of 10 was also to address the shortage of teachers.
We will face similar issue making English as a compulsory pass subject. Do we have sufficient competent teachers to teach? Our government should be consistent with policies and avoid any flip-flop that we were recently famous for. We even failed with streamlining our own mother tongue with Bahasa Baku under Anwar Ibrahim due to inconsistency in approach.
For now, we should just resolved teaching mathematics and science in English and close the topic. Train our teacher population for better English competency and the English as a compulsory pass subject is a given.