Charting the journey forward

  • Education
  • Sunday, 04 Feb 2018

WE’RE on the right track.

The English Language Roadmap 2015-2025 is a “really inspiring” model which other countries should study, says Cambridge Assessment English (policy, projects and partnerships) director Dr Hanan Khalifa.

It’s an ambitious vision for the country’s future, giving every pupil a high level in both English and the national language.

“It’s easy for a government to set ambitious targets, but what’s special about the roadmap is that it includes a detailed, realistic plan for achieving these targets. It also covers the whole education system from primary and secondary to university, which is visionary,” she says.

Echoing her sentiments, Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) president Prof Dr S. Ganakumaran describes it as a positive step forward, saying goals, and targeted outcomes, are clearly stipulated in the strategic plan.

“But one of our education system’s biggest flaw is that we’re always doing things in a hurry, and expecting immediate results.

“Often, we launch a programme when we are ill prepared. We start a programme even before training the teachers, preparing the materials, and developing the assessment.

“We must reflect on our failed and abandoned projects, to learn how to do things better so that our education will have a progressive, and sustainable future,” he thinks.

Dr Surinderpal Kaur, the deputy dean of postgraduate studies at the Universiti Malaya Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, says the roadmap is good as it addresses what’s wrong with our system, and clearly sets the way forward.

“But we launched it before having all the infrastructure in place. So now we have to make some tweaks and be open to constructive criticism. Modifications are needed but it shouldn’t be anything major. No flip-flops or our education system won’t have sustainability and continuity.”

In August 2016, the Education Ministry launched the roadmap to continue enhancing English proficiency among teachers and students.

Focused on the country’s 40,000 English teachers, the roadmap is part of the implementation of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 to reform English Language education in the country.

In preparation for the roadmap’s implementation, master trainers and observers were trained on the CEFR by Cambridge English in 2016.

The roadmap uses the CEFR and was produced by the English Language Standards and Quality Council. The council is made up of a panel of experts and the director of Cambridge English’s English Language Teaching Centre.

A detailed analysis of English language learning in Malaysia, have been produced for the ministry, says Dr Hanan.

“The most important thing we found is that everyone in Malaysia takes English very seriously.

“There’s massive commitment to giving every pupil the skills they need to succeed in the future.”

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