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July 18, 2002

Boosting English in Malaysia

In Malaysia, where the national language since independence is Malay, a government plan to teach science and maths in English at all schools has become a political flashpoint. Recent studies show that more than 44,000 mostly Malay university graduates were finding it hard to find jobs, one of the reasons being their poor grasp of English. Teachers are on the whole positive towards the plan, but there has been considerable opposition from the large Chinese community. There are some 1,200 Chinese primary schools, which use only Mandarin as a medium of instruction, and they say their students have fared better than average in the two subjects using their mother tongue.

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