Languages in the Malaysian Education System: Monolingual strands in multilingual settings, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Languages in the Malaysian Education System

Monolingual strands in multilingual settings, 1st Edition

Edited by Asmah Haji Omar


170 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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This book provides an overview of language education in Malaysia, covering topics such as the evolution of the education system from pre-independence days to the present time, to the typology of schools, and the public philosophy behind every policy made in the teaching of languages. The book consists of chapters devoted to the teaching of languages that form separate strands but are at the same time connected to each other within the education system. These chapters discuss:

  • Implementing the national language policy in education institutions
  • English in language education policies and planning in Malaysia
  • Chinese and Tamil language education in Malaysia
  • Teaching of indigenous Malaysian languages
  • The role of translation in education in Malaysia


It also discusses the development of language which enables the national language, Malay, to fulfil its role as the main medium of education up to the tertiary level. This book will be of interest to researchers studying language planning, teacher education and the sociology of education, particularly, within the Malaysian context.

Table of Contents

1. Positioning Languages in the Malaysian Education System 2. Implementing the National Language Policy in Educational Institutions 3. English in Language Education Policies and Planning in Malaysia 4. Arabic in Malaysia: A Special Status Language 5. Evolution of Chinese Language Education in Malaysia 6. Tamil Education in Malaysia: A Survival Against the Odds 7. Teaching Iban in Schools and Universities 8. Teaching of Kadazandusun as mother tongue 9. The Role of Translation in Education in Malaysia 10. The Development of Malay: A Supranational Collaboration

About the Editor

Asmah Haji Omar is Professor Emeritus at the Academy of Malay Studies (AMS), University of Malaya (UM). She was formerly Professor of Malay Linguistics, Director of the Language Centre, and Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics of the university. After retiring, she was invited by the University of Education Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak, to occupy the Za’ba Chair of Malay Civilization, and established the Institute of Malay Civilization (2001 – 2005). As a member of the Language Council of Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia (MABBIM) from its inception in 1972 until today, she has been involved in the development of Malay/bahasa Indonesia, specifically in the standardization of the spelling system, formulation of rules for the coining of scientific terminology, and the method of compiling dictionaries of scientific terms.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Asian Education

In Asia, schooling, teaching and learning are undergoing major changes as a consequence of wider economic, social, cultural and political movements. The success of some Asian countries in international education benchmarks has redirected attention to the region. This is counterbalanced by other countries that are struggling to educate their citizens in the midst of political instability, ideological and religious tensions, poverty and natural disasters. In spite of such broad differences across countries in Asia, pioneering and innovative research is being conducted that is of increasing interest to researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and governments worldwide.

The Routledge Critical Studies in Asian Education book series will examine key theoretical and empirical research on the changing institutional and cultural contexts of Asian education. The series aims to establish a strong platform for the critical discussion of educational practices and pedagogies in Asia, and is open to Asian and international researchers with a focus on the region. Interdisciplinary research is welcomed, including education, social sciences, psychology, organisational studies, economics, history, political science, cultural studies, and language and literacy.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education