KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Feb 2009: Mathematics and Science can be taught in any language and not necessarily only in English, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid said today.
He said that both subjects could be learnt in any language as the main purpose was to study the subject matter and not the language.
“You can do it (learn science and mathematics) in Malay quite well or in Chinese or German. There is nothing special about learning a subject in a particular language,” he told reporters after giving a talk entitled The Quest for Success at the Merdeka Award Lecture Series, here.
He said many people had gained knowledge even in the Malay language and that Mathematics was a symbolic language, which could be learnt in any language whatsover.
“In 1974, we took Malay Malaysian students in Pusat Asasi Sains (Science Foundation Centre) in Universiti Malaya. The graduates of Pusat Asasi Sains today are specialists in the medical fields and they earn more than RM40,000 a month and they did it all in the Malay language. Thus, language is not the issue,” he said.
Ungku Aziz also said that the Malay language could be the vehicle to ensure the achievement of national unity.
“You can only have national unity if everybody can understand each other in one language. If people can speak English, Mandarin or Tamil but they cannot speak Malay then we can never have national unity,” he said.
Ungku Aziz also said the nation’s education system did not promote creative thinking and as long as the system practised the multiple-choice system in examinations, people will not be creative.
“At least you must have one subject on thinking, be it creative thinking or lateral thinking in school right up to tertiary level,” he said.
The talk is the third of six of the Merdeka Award Talks for 2008/2009 jointly organised by Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell. — Bernama