PETALING JAYA: The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) is upset that non-English language teachers have been told to sit for an English test, saying that it would add to their burden.
“These teachers are not trained in the subject. But they are forced to teach English, as instructed, due to a lack of these teachers in schools,” said NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan.Such teachers, he said, would not be able to reach the level of that of an English option teacher.
Tan’s statement followed Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin’s April 14 directive on the matter, which involved the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) and the English Language Standards and Quality Council (ELSQC) – both of which come under the Education Ministry.
The centre and council had instructed teachers, even those who are not English option teachers, to sit for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) examination, Tan added.
As for English option teachers who have yet to take any proficiency test, Tan said they were required to sit for the MUET by December using their own funds.“These teachers must pay the MUET examination fees themselves. And the time frame given to sit for MUET is short,” he added.
Furthermore, he said some of these English option teachers already have qualifications such as TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).“They (the centre and council) have not taken these factors into consideration,” he noted.
Tan questioned the centre’s direction, saying the NUTP could not see where it was heading other than to “pile on the burden of teachers”.
He suggested that both the centre and the council first study the main issues plaguing the education system in the country, one of which is the lack of English language teachers in schools.
“They should be giving support, assistance and training to these teachers. Instead, they are adding to their pressure,” he said, citing how English language teachers are being told to sit for exams and setting conditions for them.
When a school lacks the expertise of an English language teacher and non-English language teachers are instructed to teach the subject, he said these teachers will teach based on the method they know best.