Like the 80% or so of Chinese Malaysians, I send my 7 year old son to a Chinese medium primary school. It’s challenging for us as the amount of Mandarin I read and understand is restricted to a restaurant menu and my wife doesn’t read (or speak) much at all.
What we like is that although the teachers there are the no-nonsense type, they are also dedicated to their work. My son’s school for example offers additional tuition classes after regular school hours (for a fee of course). It also provides our kids with an important foundation for Mandarin which we think will be a formidable tool in their future.
What I’m not so thrilled about is the fact that they seem to view English as an afterthought. The level of English taught there seems to be way below the levels of Bahasa Malaysia & Mandarin. Take a look at my son’s classroom board and tell me that this isn’t so:
Maybe I’m just biased but while they are already onto 2-syllable traffic terminology in Bahasa, they are still on the single syllable simple stuff in English. Is it just Chinese schools or is our whole Malaysia education system screwed skewed that way??
Whatever it is, it’s convinced us to use English even more at home to make sure our boys don’t lose out!