KUCHING: Sarawak is ready to commence the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English for Primary 1 pupils next year, says Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin.
He says having taken up the challenge to become the first state in Malaysia to teach the two subjects in English, the Sarawak government has spent around RM11 million towards achieving the goal.
“We have made sure that all trainers are qualified to teach the subjects in English as well as provide the necessary materials and facilities, and we will monitor the situation for the first six months.
“We hope that the move would produce a new generation of Sarawakians who are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-educated and having careers that can give a better future for the country,” he told a press conference after officiating atthe closing of Sarawak Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SaSTEM) Symposium here yesterday.
Manyin said with English being the lingua franca of STEM-related fields, emphasis must be given at an early age, pointing out that leaving it till when a student reached secondary school would ‘already be too late’.
He said following his appointment as the state’s education minister, he visited several countries to observe how STEM-related subjects were being taught in schools there.
“I found out that most developed countries are teaching STEM to their students at an early age and I want Sarawak to emulate them.”
At the same time, Manyin expressed hope that the federal Education Ministry would help Sarawak by equipping each primary school in the state with science and computer labs, as these facilities were essential in helping students learn subjects related to STEM.
“Students will find it helpful if there are labs for them to learn STEM subjects in their schools. We hope that the (federal) government would consider this request as we are working to produce youngsters who can contribute to the country’s future,” he said.
Sarawak has 1,246 primary schools that will teach Science and Mathematics in English to Primary 1 pupils next year. The 220 Chinese-medium schools in the state have opted not to take part in the programme.