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Friday, 27 September 2013

Educationist: Infrastructure not ready to support making English compulsory pass subject

SIBU: Making English a compulsory pass subject in 2016 will be a rush job, the Government has been told.

Eaton Schools Group chief executive officer Felician Teo (pic) said if the move was carried out as planned, many students would fail their SPM examination.

Felician Teo

Teo said if last year’s result — where 23% or some 105,000 students failed English — was any yardstick, too many students would not be able to pursue tertiary studies.

He said while allocating more hours to English was one of the ways to help students pass the subject, making English a compulsory pass subject went against the grain of de-emphasising examinations as an assessment tool.

“Further, the current teaching infrastructure will not be able to cope as we do not have enough qualified English language teachers.”

He was commenting on the recently unveiled Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025) that stated that English would be made a compulsory pass in 2016.

Teo said the current crop of English teachers was not fully equipped to cope as evidenced by the fact that 70% of the 60,000 English Language teachers, who sat for the Cambridge English Language Placement Test, performed poorly, a fact openly acknowledged by the Education Ministry.

“Three years is too short a time to bring some 42,000 teachers up to mark, most notably those from the rural areas.

“So if the infrastructure is not ready, making English a compulsory pass subject in 2016 is a pre-mature move,” he added.

According to Teo, a more realistic and prudent strategy would be to build up the teaching capacity gradually and slowly ramp up the teaching infrastructure instead of committing to set timelines in case these turned out to be unachievable.

Tags / Keywords: Sarawak , english

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