PETALING JAYA: Parents and experts feel that more needs to be done despite a recent study showing encouraging results on the standard of English in local schools.
Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) president Assoc Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam said professional development for teachers had to be improved.
“Instead of making it centralised, teachers will benefit more from having trainers with them in schools to help tackle the on-the-ground problems they face in classrooms – and the ministry is moving in this direction,” he said.
He added that while the initial results of the survey were positive, it was important for us to know more about the methodology of the study and what data sources were used before any meaningful conclusions could be made.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Tuesday that the preliminary findings of a recent study on the teaching and learning of English in Malaysian schools have shown “positive indications”.
Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, also reportedly said that the study’s results would be scrutinised by the English Language Standards and Quality Council for further recommendations.
Carried out last year by the Cambridge English Language Assessment, the study was conducted in 476 schools, involving 31,000 students and 1,000 teachers.
Among the findings of the study were that 37% of English teachers in primary schools had high English proficiency and 85% of students were keen on learning the subject.
The final report of the study is expected in March.
The English Language Standards and Quality Council, an independent body set up by the Education Ministry in 2012, comprises English language experts and its secretariat is based at the Education Ministry’s English Language Teaching Centre.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the initial findings of the study showed that teachers and students had always been interested in the language.
“This shows that we should look into introducing more subjects in the language to further improve their proficiency – we can start with Mathematics and Science in English,” she said.