PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has pledged to increase the number of English language option teachers in the country and raise its standard.
Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin (pic) said the ministry would use various ways to boost the numbers of such teachers.
“In addition to the placement of new English teachers, we (ministry) will continue to address the shortage through the redeployment process and the implementation of Add Option Intervention Programme (Pito),” he told The Star yesterday.
He added that the ministry also emphasised on the continuous upskilling of English teachers.
“The Professional Up-skilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) was introduced in 2012 to improve the level of English language proficiency and teaching skills of the Malaysian primary and secondary school teachers.
“We will continue to provide Pro-ELT training to ensure English teachers achieve international standards and quality,” Dr Amin said.
Pro-ELT is a programme which helps English teachers learn new methods used in Britain to teach the language.
“It was also designed for teachers who have not achieved the ministry’s proficiency target,” he said.
He said all English language option teachers should achieve the ministry’s set minimum proficiency level of C1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference of Languages.
“Thus far, 14,305 out of 42,105 English language option teachers in the system have achieved the minimum proficiency level of C1,” he said, noting that teachers who had not achieved the set proficiency target would have to take the Pro-ELT programme.
“To date, 16,650 teachers have received Pro-ELT training. They must take a proficiency test to ascertain their proficiency level after completing the training,” he added.
Dr Amin was responding to the National Union of the Teaching Profession’s (NUTP) warning of a severe shortage of qualified English teachers.
On Wednesday, NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan urged the new Pakatan Harapan Government to increase the number of English language teachers in schools, warning that the shortage would “dramatically worsen” in the near future if it was not properly addressed.
He said Kelantan, for instance, was currently short of 500 English teachers.
When contacted yesterday, Tan said he welcomed the ministry’s willingness to curb the shortage.
He said he agreed with using Pito as a method and stressed that the ministry should look into the issue holistically and plan accordingly.
“Teachers involved in Pito must be rewarded accordingly or given a form of incentive for the additional work they take on,” he said.
Separately, Tan said he welcomed the appointment of Dr Maszlee Malik as the new Education Minister.