I am the product of a full local education from kindergarden to primary to secondary and tertiary. Now, I am pursuing my Masters in Islamic finance in a local institution. I went to 2 years of kindergarden in a small place call Mentakab in Pahang for 2 years and had my primary school in a place called Temerloh for 1 year and 1 week. My Standard 2 was in Seremban until I was in Standard 4 when my mom seen leaving me with my grandmother made me not learning anything at all.
I was brought to the deep interior of Pahang in Jengka and as I was warned that I would be schooling with the natives. Managed to get good result in such a place and went to a local religious boarding school where I lasted until Form 4 when I was caught doing something. Was then schooling a very well known school in Seremban but was monitored closely by my mom where I learnt for the first time to mingle with other races. That was the only time I got other races other than Malay as my classmates. I fared no better in the local university that I attended to get my Legus Legum Bachaleuratte degree which entailed me to practice as a lawyer. All my education was local. All through this school system which are said to be sub-par.
Why this reminiscence? Its because of the debate by all the politician on the need to speak English in certain subjects and the need to be eloquent in English. To me, it is a lot of bull as the pupils will never would want to read or be good in something, whatever the languange, unless they have the will and influenced by their peers or siblings or parents to do so. Most teenagers nowadays learn about sex from their peers and not their school. Even if there is a sex education class, I bet that will only be an ancillary place for them to get to know more about sex but not the main one.
How did I learn English? Reading, reading and reading. It made me fell in love with my wife and managed to make me at level par with a lot of people who had studied in foreign universities, who sometimes fared no better than me at public speaking or knowledge. My wife is also a local graduate with only a diploma who was living in a low cost unit in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. She is now an English-Malay certified translator.
I never had to be asked to love English or even literature for that matter. I just do. My parents and my eldest brother who was educated in the USA influenced me to read, which I start off with translated Enid Blyton book, then I graduated to the real Enid Blyton as I grew older. There was no real influence from the teachers as my mother had influence enough over me by awarding me books if I get certain grades in school or if I was found to be good and deserve a prize. I was given a quota of 5 books every month and I took advantage of it by buying lots and lots of it, sometimes exceeding the quota.
I then learnt to read more serious novel when my brother who came back from USA in 1999 start introducing me to bestsellers novel by Robet Ludlum, Michael Chricton and a few others. When I start working, I started to read non-fiction and books to self-improve myself. These self-improvement books are important in developing my minds on going-ons of the world.
I think that is what is lack in Malaysia education system. Self-belief and self-development. With that, no one will have a problem in whatever language they are taught. Stop the arguments and just focus on the students. Stop the exam-oriented education and start educating them on their self-development. There will not be enough time to educate everyone personally so educating them to educate themselves is the best option.
Just my 2 cents as I am not an educator...