‘Unscientific’ science questions for Primary 2 pupils have law-makers, parents fuming

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SIBU: Questions set in Primary 2 Science text books irritated the locals for they require students to guess how children should look like from their parents.

The questions with diagrams show the pictures of a father and a mother and four children. Students are required to answer which of the children belongs to the couple.

In another question, it shows the drawing of a father and a mother, and the students are required to draw how their child would look like.

Locals were shocked that students today were taught in such an unscientific way about science.

Chairman of SUPP Dudong Branch Wong Ching Yong said the questions were most ‘unscientific’ because the relationship between parents and children could not be established simply by appearances.

“The students should be made aware that DNA test is now the most reliable method to confirm biological relationships between parents, children or even spouses.”

He said the questions, though related to science as a school subject, encourage students to guess by appearances, and not to study by scientific facts.

“This is not a progressive way to teach students to solve problems scientifically but on the contrary, the questions seem to suggest to young boys and girls that it is alright to guess rather than to learn critical thinking.

“I am of the view that this question should be expunged from the text book as soon as possible.”

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang, in responding, said she had taken a step further by bringing the issue to the state assembly meeting.

She said in her DUN speech: “The latest concern is the issue found in next years’ Primary 2 Science textbook and Activities Book. In the textbook, there is a picture of a couple and 2 pairs of children.”

She said students were asked to match the children to the parents.

In the Activity Book, she added, students were also asked to predict and draw the child of the couple of obviously different races.

“I don’t understand what is the publisher trying to teach and how could our Education Ministry approve these books for our schools.

“Bearing in mind that the subject is Science, I can only gather that the government is maybe trying to show that children born of parents with different races would look different.

“But to tell the students to draw what the children would look like is wrong and not accurate, as how the children would look like depends on the dominance of certain genes of the parents.”

She said to ask students to predict looks of children based on looks without mentioning anything about our genes is totally wrong and should not be allowed in our education syllabus.

She said this was not teaching children anything about Science but teaching our students to be race and colour conscious without any scientific basis.

To allow this kind of material to be taught in school, especially without any specific instructions to the teachers, she said, might the open the door for the dissemination of wrong information to students.

“Schools should be a place for children to be taught racial harmony and tolerance, especially in times when there are already so many racial intolerance, which, in turn, had caused misunderstanding.

“I therefore urge the State Minister of Education to speak up and disallow such teaching materials in our local schools.

“The science and activity books should be replaced accordingly. We need to protect our local students.”

Pelawan assemblyman David Wong was totally disappointed and said the Education Ministry should have sacked the people setting the questions.

“Since this is a science subject, students should be taught about chromosomes to link it with genes which explains scientifically the looks of children in relation to their parents.”

He said: “Students should be taught scientifically how the appearance of a child should be and how a child takes the characteristics of his parents.