Most participants felt that while some may benefit more from the increased opportunities of learning the subjects in English, other students may need to use their mother tongues. Many agreed that the decision to abolish the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English was made without adequate consultation from academicians and the public.
WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor Unni Kumaran Menon said the government should listen to the people rather than make policies on their own. He called for a separation of the education policy from political influence, and for the formation of a Commission of Education to oversee educational policies.
A few felt the failure of the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English to improve the standard of English was due to poor implementation of the policy rather than the wrong choice of policy. Prof Kuldip lamented on the poor quality of teaching in Malaysia and the need for better education standards and implementation.
Prof John Arul said the quality of education was a more important issue than the actual choice of language of instruction. He reminded that the primary purpose of teaching Science and Mathematics in English was not to improve English standards, but to allow better access to the fields of Science and Mathematics which see ongoing research and developments in English.
About 30 people, including from the academia, schools, NGOs and the government sector, attended the roundtable discussion.