KUALA LUMPUR: The proposal to reintroduce English-medium schools has Federal Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s support, but he said more views should be sought before the Government made any decision.
Abdul Rahman, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and the Kota Belud MP, said his home state Sabah was ready to have English-medium schools.
“We are willing to be the first state in the country to have English-medium schools,” he said after delivering his keynote address at the Future of Work, Workplace, Workforce Conference organised by TalentCorp.
The Johor Survey 2017: Views on Identity, Education and the Johor Royal Family, showed that support was strong across all demographic segments in Johor, even among Malay and rural respondents, who in the past were not supportive of the policy to teach Mathematics and Science in English.
Abdul Rahman said it was important to get feedback from all stakeholders, including students, parents and non-governmental organisations.
“We cannot just hear the views of politicians. The people need to express their views.
“I believe many parents want their children to master the English language,” he added.
He said students who could converse in English would be able to compete better and have more opportunities globally.
“I am a firm believer of English-medium schools. We have to master the English language to compete with the rest.
“Look at other countries. Even Arab countries and those in the Middle East want to learn English. We do not want to lose this advantage,” he said.
On the event, Abdul Rahman said many jobs in the country were at high risk of being displaced in the next two decades by fast-emerging technologies.
“Based on the findings of a research paper conducted by Khazanah Research Institute, in terms of skill level, over 70% of all semi-skilled jobs and 80% of all low-skilled jobs across major economic sectors are at high risk,” he said.
Abdul Rahman added that two initiatives called Visioning Malaysia’s Future of Work: A Framework for Action Report and the Nurturing Expert Talent profiling had been launched to prepare the current and future workforce to face the digital era.