PETALING JAYA: Many Malaysians are fed up with the “inconsistent” stand on the use of English in schools, which they say is one reason that command of the language among students is below par.
Taking their concerns to The Star Online’s Facebook page, users blamed shifting language policies within the national curriculum as a cause for low English proficiency.
They urged the Government to consider teaching more subjects in English.
“Please revert Science and Maths to English if you are sincerely for students learning English,” said Chaw Ting Meng.
“I say (the problem) is the system itself. The education system changes and is not permanent. This is confusing teachers and lots of money is being spent on courses, appointing foreign educators to teach teachers, etc,” said Suma Thi.
Some pointed the finger at incapable teachers while others criticise the politicising of language.
“Our English teachers are not qualified and below standard. Let’s be realistic about this. Even at primary level, the English teachers are not qualified,” said Rony Lim.
“Please take politics out of education and let passionate educators work their wonders,” said Charles Lee.
“Maybe education leaders as well as university chancellors should never be politically elected. Education is something we cannot gamble (with) as a nation,” said Mike Mae Yup.
A few users suggested increasing teachers’ pay to attract quality educators, and asked that teachers be allowed to focus on teaching and not be distracted with other responsibilities.
“All parties must play significant roles in this issue. Educators should be given enough room. Please study the amount of work or responsibilities a teacher has to shoulder in schools,” said Thevandran Bathumalai.
A common view is that students lag behind in English because they fear to speak the language.
“Stop the blame game on the Government, educators, teachers, etc. To be good in a language, we all need one simple thing – constant usage! How many students use English on a consistent basis, apart from English classes in school?
“Nineteen years of learning the language will not even equal one year of constant daily conversing in English. Start by encouraging more English at home, watching more English shows, etc,” wrote Edward Christopher D’Silva.
“Pupils learn English for the sake of exams and do not learn to speak it. They only use English in an English classroom,” said Faridah Yusof.