Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr Suzanne Majhanovich

Second Advisor

Dr Shelley Taylor


In 2002, the Government of Malaysia amended the Education Act. The amendment replaces the use of mother tongue with English, as medium of instruction for Mathematics and Science. Its main objective is to raise the standards of English in Malaysia, in acknowledgement of English language’s premier position in global information- technology and trade. However, this amendment of the medium-of- instruction, contravened the rights of the ethnic Chinese minority (as enshrined in the Malaysia’s Federal Constitution), in regard to access to education in Chinese. Thus, this study focuses on the effects and implications of the 2002 Amendment to the Education Act for the ethnic Chinese community, through exploring the challenges that the policy pose for Chinese school and education, as well as investigating the responses of the different stakeholders in Chinese community toward the change in education policy. To gain answers to the outcomes that the change in policy had on Chinese education, schools and the community, a case study approach was adopted. Surveys (of students and parents) were used as the main data collection tool, supplemented by discussions with educators and document analysis of textbooks and newspapers. The study concludes with recommendations for improving the planning and implementation of the 2002 Amendment to the Education Act (which is due for a review after 2008), and offers suggestions for future research in education policies for minorities, and particularly, the ethnic Chinese.



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