Bid to further improve English


PUTRAJAYA: Students sitting for the Form 3 Assessment (PT3) this year can expect to face an English exam paper that is of international standard.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said English exam papers of PT3 this year would be aligned according to standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – which is standardised and used internationally to determine English proficiency levels.

“The English exam paper in PT3 will be set according to the CEFR standards starting this year.

“English exam papers for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) will start following the CEFR standards in 2021, while English papers of the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) will follow suit in 2022,” he added.

By adhering to the CEFR standards, Maszlee said students would be able to pinpoint their level of English proficiency properly and act on it if it’s not up to par.

“We (ministry) have started rolling out (in stages) the curriculum, learning and teaching plans, as well as assessments that are aligned with the CEFR standards starting from 2016.

“This is part of our plan to transform and boost Malaysia’s English language education for the better to produce students, graduates and teachers who are future-proof.

“We must be realistic and recognise that English is the international language which is used as a communication tool everywhere, including online and in business,” he said, adding that Bahasa Malaysia would remain as the country’s national language.

He was speaking to reporters after the English Language Standards and Quality Council (ELSQC) 2018-2020 appointment ceremony at the ministry here yesterday.

Established in 2013, the ELSQC – which is parked under the ministry’s English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) – is in charge of bringing up Malaysian youth’s English proficiency level and reform the country’s English language education.

Maszlee, who appointed seven new panellists based on their capabilities and contributions to the English language education, said the council’s most important mission now was to ensure the “English Language Education Reform in Malaysia: The Roadmap 2015-2025” would be carried out effectively.

The roadmap was produced by the ELSQC to improve English language education for all stages, from preschool to tertiary, including teacher education.

“The council will focus on determining and establishing English listening, speaking, reading and writing standards; conduct verification on the content and performance standards of English language among students; and systemise standards of the English language,” said Maszlee, adding that he believed in the capability of the council’s new panellists.