IPOH: Fear of some students not being able to cope is not a valid reason for the Education Ministry to turn back on its decision to use imported English textbooks in schools next year, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon (pic).
He said having students who are poor in the language is all the more reason why the ministry should implement the curriculum aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
“When we talk about students not being able to comprehend, there will always be those who are unable to catch up whether we use CEFR textbooks or our local Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR) ones.
“But this doesn’t mean we have to completely forgo the imported textbooks because CEFR is a guide developed by the Council of Europe to gauge foreign language proficiency.
“It is applied universally and has very clear ways of teaching languages,” he told reporters here yesterday after handing out RM7.77mil in government aid to 17 Chinese secondary and 108 Chinese primary schools in Perak.
Chong was responding to concerns by certain quarters, the latest by Johor English Language Teaching Association president Vincent D’Silva, that a sudden switch to materials from overseas could be detrimental to many Malaysian students, especially those in rural areas.
D’Silva was reported as saying that English textbooks should serve as facilitators, rather than barriers, to learning the language, adding that not every student is exposed to Western culture and that those who cannot identify with the topics taught might just switch off.
According to Chong, imported English textbooks have to be used as no CEFR-compliant English textbooks are available in the country at present.
“However, the ministry is working on producing our own textbooks, which will match the CEFR standard, hopefully in the coming one or two years,” he said.
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