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One may think that understanding simple mathematics will be enough and learning more Mathematics is not necessary, however, it is not the way it seems. It is true that not all mathematics functions are applied in our daily lives, but actually, mathematics is not all about calculating. It is about training our brains to keep them working and functioning, to keep them alive and to help us think faster by solving the questions.
The knowledge of Mathematics is also very important in the business field. One will not be able to calculating the profit and loss of the business if he or she does not know to apply the mathematic functions. Employers must not always rely on the professionals' help because they will be easily cheated by the paid professional if they have no idea how the equation works. Besides, having the knowledge means that one is able to double check all the bills calculated.
Laws of Physics are always useful in preventing our body from physical harm. For example, bending one's knees when jumping down from a high place will help in increasing the time of impact, thus minimizing the impact onto the body.
As for Chemistry, it is important to know some important chemicals' names, characteristics and uses. One might be killed without knowing how hazardous a chemical can be due to the lack of knowledge on Chemistry and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) symbols (The Importance of Science 2007).
By learning Sciences and Mathematics in English, one will also be able to understand information from other reference books and from the Internet because most of the information provided is written in English (The Importance of English 2009). It is definitely better to learn those subjects in English since young rather than only starting to learn in the tertiary level of education.
Once entering tertiary education, one will not be studying only Sciences and Mathematics in English but also other subjects such as History, Economics and Accounting. The medium for instruction during the tertiary education is obviously English language. Students are expected to understand English until a certain extent to be able answer the examinations and communicate with lecturers and classmates.
As for Bahasa Melayu, it is the National language of Malaysia. Thus it is widely used in this country and is also the main medium of communication in public schools due to the fact that Bahasa Melayu is the mother tongue of most students and teachers.
4.1.2 In the workplace
The language one uses when working depends on the situation. In private sectors, employees are normally required to understand and speak fluent English so that they can extend their business overseas by sending their staff there or to deal with dealers from foreign countries. Therefore, mastering English will be one of the main requirements that are needed to be achieved in order to obtain a certain job.
However, if one is planning to work in the government sectors, regardless of which department, Bahasa Melayu will be prioritised as it is Malaysia's National language and most of the issues in Malaysia are dealt in Bahasa Melayu.
Bahasa Melayu is also beneficial when it comes to traditional markets as one will have better communication with local buyers using Bahasa Melayu.
5.0 Other ways to improve English among Malaysian students
Knowing that English is important as an international language (The Importance of English 2009), several ways were carried out by the government to improve the standard of English among Malaysian students.
5.1 Increase the number of English lessons in schools
The best way of improving a language is to use it frequently. Thus, by increasing the number of English lessons in schools, students get to practice speaking in English more often, as the proverb says, 'Practice makes perfect.' According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the English lesson for lower primary students in the public schools has been increased from 240 minutes to 330 minutes per week. As for the upper primary students, the lesson is increased from 210 minutes to 300 minutes per week (Masa BM, BI ditambah 2011 2010).Â
While communicating in English, teachers will be able to correct the student's mistake. In that case, not only the students, but the other students in class will be able to learn from the mistake.
Teachers can also encourage students in writing diaries or journals as it helps in improving English when students have the urge to learn new vocabulary to express their feelings. It is proven as an effective method and has been used in investigating social aspects of language learning (Teaching English to Students from China 2003).
5.2 Encourages the reading of English books among Malaysian students
Another efficient way of learning languages is through reading. Malaysia's government has tried encouraging students to read more English books by setting up the 'English Language Reading Program' in 1976 (Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom 2000). Through the program, all students are required to read a certain number of books within a period of time.
The government also tried encouraging Malaysian students to read more books by setting up public libraries with good facilities such as air-conditioner and reading zone. The books in the libraries must always be updated so that students will not lose interest in reading.
The effectiveness of this method was shown through an experiment by Hafiz and Tudor during 1989. A group of students acted as the experimental group were asked to read after school for twelve weeks. After the research, there was a huge improvement in the performance of the experimental group and the reading program was one of the factors (Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom 2000).
6.0 Steps taken to support the using of Bahasa Melayu
Although learning foreign languages, the national language must not be forgotten and effort must be made to maintain the uniqueness of Malaysia and to appreciate Bahasa Melayu.
6.1 'Appreciate Our Mother Language' Campaign
Since most students raised up in the urban areas are able to speak English more fluently, some even considered them as their 'first preferable language' and will eventually forget about their mother language as it is not being used as much as English in their daily routine.
The delegates at the Conference resolved that "the disappearance of any language is an inseparable loss for the heritage of all human kind". Around the world, it is believed that out of the 6000 languages, 3000 of them will face extinction for the next century (A Loss for Words 2000). To prevent this from happening, the government can hold an 'Appreciate Our Mother Language' Campaign by giving the citizens better understanding on their mother languages and ways to preserve them.
In 1999, UNESCO has held an International Mother Language Day (21st February) (International Mother Language Day 2008). This can help to raise the campaign effectively.
6.2 Scholarships for students with excellent academic results in Bahasa Melayu
The government had come out with an effective way to motivate students to study well in Bahasa Melayu by giving scholarships to students with excellent academic results in the subject. Some scholarships are only limited to an amount of best scorer to support them in furthering their studies in well-known universities (Menjana Pendidikan 2009). Through that, students will tend to work harder to obtain the scholarships.
As a conclusion, the teaching of Sciences and Mathematics subjects in Malaysia should not be reverted to Bahasa Melayu because there are more advantages than the disadvantages. English is an International language and the evolving society tends to judge people by their English level. By teaching the subjects in English, students learn more vocabulary and understanding. The government had also increases the number of English lessons in schools and encourages students to read more English books to improve the English level of Malaysian students.
However, the national language and mother tongue must not be forgotten. To ensure that the national language will survives through the generation, government had held campaigns to encourage the public in appreciating their mother languages and also by giving out scholarships to students who scored good marks in our national language, which is Bahasa Melayu.
In short, Malaysian students should try to improve their English yet remembering their mother languages at the same time so that it will not be lost.