Friday, May 14, 2010

Mother Tongue Reweighing

There has been much furore over the suggested (and later retracted) reweighing of Mother Tongue at PSLE. Much has been said regarding this, but from my observations of forum letters as well as of online views, almost everyone has made a crucial oversight.

The policy, despite being about Mother Tongue, seems almost inexorably argued or discussed in the context of the Chinese language. While it is not wrong per say to discuss one's experiences (which are obviously limited to one's own mother tongue), the apparent lack of consideration or input regarding other languages is disturbing. After all, the suggested subject reweighing affects students of all races and mother tongues, not merely Chinese students.

Despite my hesitance to invoke issues of race or ethnicity into discussions, I suspect that any move to reduce the weighting of Mother Tongue would have a greater negative impact on students of other races and ethnicities than on Chinese students; in general, they have better overall proficiencies in their mother tongues than do Chinese students, and hence would be more likely to be negatively affected by a reweighing.

Of course, now that the policy suggestion has been retracted, the contents of this may no longer be important. However, I do hope that future policies are more considerate of other ethnicities, and are more explicit in such considerations.

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