English boleh!

  • Education
  • Sunday, 16 Jun 2013

PROPAGATING the idea of introducing English medium schools is a wise move.

Kudos to all out there who share similar views on the deteriorating standard of English. It is indeed disheartening and needs urgent attention.

While some quarters are distracted by the poor performance of our students, some are unaffected! What is the root cause of the decline?

Is it the education system, the teachers, the procedures in selecting teacher trainees or parents themselves?

Are we barking up the wrong tree, then? Having said that, the issue thus far sticks out stubbornly like a sore thumb.

The changes to the education system have been many such that it is now “damaged” and in dire need of a revamp.

If the Education Ministry is serious about arresting the decline, I can’t help but agree that English-medium schools should be re-visited.

It’s high time the ministry takes heed of the chorusing complaints. Many are passionate about this idea.

Judging by the competence level of some teachers, it would not be an understatement to say that they are not proficient and lack the skills to teach the language.

If teachers themselves have such a poor command of the language, how can the authorities expect their charges to have the knowledge and ability to move on?

There have been no positive gains for teachers and students, and although the domino theory is evident here, nothing has been done to take them out of this situation.

The introduction of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English, better known by its Malay acronym PPSMI, saw a brouhaha among many when it was first introduced 10 years ago.

However, it made a sudden U-turn and was reverted in stages to the old system.

Those who learnt the subjects in English, are now doing so in Bahasa Malaysia or in their mother tongue as is the case with vernacular schools.

With limited periods allocated for English Language, we cannot expect our students to learn or make significant progress, although schools would be the best place for students to pick up the langugae.

However, for this to happen, there must be a positive change from policy-makers and the authorities. They need to see the importance of English as a universal language.

On the same note, comes the selection of trainee teachers. If they are to be the guardians of the language, they must be competent and have excellent literacy skills.

Undeserving candidates should be weeded out for fear that they may cause further damage to the already deteriorating standard of the language.

Many of my peers in the profession who are passionate about English are looking forward to the reintroduction of English-medium schools.

The sooner the better, for the sake of our students, who no doubt will excel globally.


THERE have been calls for the Government to allow the use of English as a medium of instruction in schools again. As there are Chinese and Tamil primary schools alongside national schools, Malaysians should have the freedom for another option.

Presently, English as a medium of instruction is already available but only in private and international schools. Only a small percentage of Malaysians can afford to go to such schools.

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