Teachers can get creative to help students master English
The instincts for political survival in a system that only rewards extreme forms of political loyalty, cannot revamp and re-establish a sound educational system.By P RamasamyA few months back, Idris Jusoh, Education Minister II, said the Malaysian system of education was on par with that of other developed countries.Very recently, P Kamalanathan, deputy minister of education, in an address to students, said Malaysians had a higher proficiency in English than their Singapore counterparts.He further claimed that among the 65 countries in which English was not a native language, Malaysia ranked first.Is it true that the Malaysian education system is on par with those of developed countries? Is it true that our standard of English is better than that of Singaporeans, a country where English is far widely spoken and which receives official recognition?I will be the first person to jump for joy if Malaysia had a world-class education system where the level of spoken and written English was high.In fact, Malaysians are awaiting the day when not just ministers but Opposition leaders act in unison to proclaim the greatness of the Malaysian education system where English is given the priority and importance it deserves as the language of science and technology.However, that day will not come anytime soon.The reality remains however that our education system is wanting.Government ministers such as Idris Jusoh are well known for using selective facts to boast about our educational system. I am not sure whether he really understands what plagues the system and why our fresh university graduates cannot even write or speak the language well.Kamalanathan on the other hand may boast about Malaysia’s standard of English, but little does he realise many locals have an atrocious command of the language.There are many international and regional English proficiency-testing methods, including the Swedish-based English Proficiency (EP) Education First (EF) that we can choose from to gauge our standard of English. However selective reading of the EF results is not conclusive in establishing the superiority of Malaysia over Singapore when it comes to the standard of English.Moving away from these isolated tests and procedures, no sane person would ever argue that the Malaysian education system is on the road to success. Far from it.The education system right from the days of independence to the present is based more on language policies rather than epistemological concerns of education.The political struggle associated with making Bahasa Melayu the official language and the fervour on the part of the non-Malays not to forsake their mother tongue has take a toll on the maturation of English language teaching.Nationalistic pursuits, lack of proper educational planning and lack of good leaders has prevented Malaysia from taking the lead in English language education.We are in a tragic situation today. The teaching of the English language has become the victim of nationalistic politics. Its utilitarian value has been sacrificed because of the outcome of the ballot boxes.What is unbecoming of government ministers is the fact that they refuse to acknowledge that our education system seriously needs repair.Given their instincts only for political survival in a system that only rewards extreme forms of political loyalty, nothing can be expected to be done to revamp and re-establish a sound education system.Our command of the English language will continue to slide simply because it is narrowly conceived as a tool. Politically it lacks the glamour of the Malay or other non-Malay languages to receive political support.In other words, in Malaysia, the whole educational system can be declared a mess, more so the teaching of the English language.P Ramasamy is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.Readers are required to have a valid Facebook account to comment on this story. We welcome your opinions to allow a healthy debate. We want our readers to be responsible while commenting and to consider how their views could be received by others. Please be polite and do not use swear words or crude or sexual language or defamatory words. FMT also holds the right to remove comments that violate the letter or spirit of the general commenting rules.The views expressed in the contents are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of FMT.Top NewsHome | About Us | Disclaimers / Copyright | Advertise | Contact Us | Copyright (C) 2009-2016 MToday News Sdn. Bhd. All Rights Reserved.
Ways to search theedgemarkets.com contentby Title: @title "the edge malaysia"by Author: @author "lucas wong”by category: @category "corporate" "hot stock” Combine search: "high speed rail" @author "Bhattacharjee" @category "From the Edge"Searching either words : 1MDB MAS Searching all words : “Genting Berhad”Searching Chinese phrase : “马电讯”KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 16): You don't need English to produce world-class science, says a top ranked Malaysian scientist who has thrown his weight behind a coalition to abolish the dual language programme (DLP), Putrajaya's latest initiative to improve English-language skills among students.Prof Wan Ramli Wan Daud of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) engineering and built environment faculty, said DLP would see students learning science and mathematics in English just to increase their proficiency in the language.This, he said, was wrong, as students should be taught Science and Mathematics in their mother tongue."It is also a myth that you need English to learn and produce good science as in UKM, our research and papers are done in Bahasa Malaysia,” added Wan Ramli, a chemical engineering professor and also founding director of its fuel cell institute.Wan Ramli and two other Malaysian scientists were named among 72 influential scientific minds of 2015 by world-renowned academic indexing agency Thomson-Reuters, which is based in New York.Supporters of DLP argue that English proficiency is necessary for local researchers to get international recognition.The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE), a pro-DLP outfit, said the language medium of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) is English.Wan Ramli admitted that UKM researchers needed to rewrite their papers in English in order to get them published in international journals, which is necessary to get their studies recognised."But this is merely translation. English does not add value to the research that had been done. You can learn and get expertise in science through Bahasa Malaysia," he told The Malaysian Insider.DLP is being run for Year One, Year Four and Form One classes in 300 schools nationwide, and students are taught four subjects: English, Math, Science, and Creative Design and Information Technology.Participation is voluntary and must be agreed to by parents, teachers and students.Wan Ramli said anti-DLP coalition MansuhDLP was not against English proficiency, but was opposed to the teaching of Math and Science in English.MansuhDLP is spearheaded by Gerakan Mansuh PPSMI (GMP), a group created in 2009 to stop the former policy to teach Science and Math in English, known by its Bahasa Malaysia acronym PPSMI.It believes DLP would eventually be adopted beyond the 300 schools and would displace Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction."I have taught in Bahasa Malaysia, my Masters and Phd students conduct research in Malay and even write their findings in Malay," Wan Ramli said in order to illustrate why BM was not an impediment."Much of the science in the world is produced in non-English languages such as German and French. Most of the discoveries in quantum physics are done in German."The reason you need English is because the major scientific journals are now owned by English-speaking countries." We deliver news to your inbox daily