UP to 50% of the course content for science and technology degree programmes in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) will be taught in English by 2006.
UKM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Anuwar Ali said the UKM Senate has decided that all new undergraduates entering the university in June for the 2003/2004 academic year would be required to do part of their course in English.
However, each faculty can decide how much English will be used, depending on its capacity to do so, said Prof Anuwar. UKM lecturers have been attending several programmes on teaching in English.
“However, by and large, most of the lecturers are capable of teaching in English as many of them did their postgraduate degrees overseas. Some of them, however, may need to brush up their English,” said Prof Anuwar.
Arts and Social Science faculties, however, would not be required to implement a certain percentage of teaching in English as yet.
Prof Anuwar was speaking to reporters after opening an art exhibition – Rasa Alam – organised by the UKM Cultural Centre at Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak in UKM.
The exhibition showcases artwork by UKM students, lecturers and guest artists, including paintings, batik, photography and wood-carvings.
Prof Anuwar said the policy would be reviewed in 2006 when the first batch of students is expected to graduate. “We have to bear in mind that by 2008, SPM students would have studied Science and Mathematics in English, so we will have to take this into account.”
The VC added that UKM is in a unique position as its mission is to champion the Malay language.
“This is something that we have done all these years, but at the same time we also need to be aware of and respond to the Government policy on teaching Maths and Science in English. We need to find a way to balance both these objectives.”
In a survey carried out last year among its 5,000-odd graduates, the students stated that they would like English to be emphasised and that they wanted to improve their communication skills in the language, said Prof Anuwar.
“They also requested that all programmes be reviewed so that irrelevant components are discarded and skills that would be useful in the workplace emphasised.”
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