Make passing SPM English a must, says Guan Eng
KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — English must be made a core discipline that students must pass in SPM examinations if Malaysia is to keep up with an increasingly competitive world, Lim Guan Eng told the Education Ministry today.
The Penang chief minister (picture) pointed out that while the ministry had previously said that Malaysians must master English as a reflection of its status as the world’s most widely-used language for communications and knowledge acquisition, that did not go far enough and the language should be made a core discipline in the national school-leaving exam, which is the basic paper qualification needed for most jobs.
“Creating this incentive for students is necessary if the Ministry of Education (MOE) is committed to strengthening English language proficiency.
“Or else Malaysia will lose out in future competitiveness with deteriorating standards in English when other countries are improving theirs,” Lim said in a statement today.
The MOE had caused a huge outcry among educationists, students and parent groups with its decision to abolish a nearly decade-old national policy of the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) introduced in 2003 with another, Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English (MBMMBI), starting this year.
It claimed the PPSMI policy failed to meet its objective to raise the standard of English among Malaysian students, and was found to affect student performance in the subjects of Science and Mathematics in rural areas.
But Lim said the new education policy’s aims would not succeed in strengthening students’ mastery of the two languages if English was not also made a subject that they must pass, like Bahasa Malaysia and History.
He also drew attention to the unequal number of hours devoted to language lessons, with students given a maximum of 300 hours a week for English classes in national schools compared to 60 minutes extra a week for the national language.
Vernacular schools had it worse with only 150 minutes a week allocated to English compared to 300 minutes a week of BM classes, Lim said.
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