Thursday, June 11, 2009

Compulsory pass in English for SPM Certificate

A compulsory pass in English was a pre-requisite before getting a full certificate in SPM. In my school days, you must get a credit in English before you can get Grade 1. When you fail your English, you fail your senior Cambridge ‘O’ level exam. There is no argument and you have no choice. In those days, we have to study English grammar.

When Bahasa Melayu was made Bahasa Malaysia and it became the official language of the country, the pendulum swung to the other end where English was neglected. You are viewed with suspicion if you speak English. The focus was on Bahasa Malaysia to the total neglect of the English language. By the late 80s, the standard of English dropped dramatically. The ultra-nationalists make it fashionable that a true Malaysian need only know how to speak Bahasa Malaysia and mother tongue. English suddenly became a foreign language. Today, even a university graduate cannot string a proper sentence in English. Hence, we say they speak England and not English.

English is an international language. It is a language of Law, Commerce, IT, Science and Technology. Hence, studying English can help rather than hinder a person’s competitiveness. Even in China and Japan, the focus by the government is the study of the English language. Malaysians cannot be a monolingual race whereby the Malays speak Bahasa Melayu, Chinese in Mandarin and Indians speak Tamil while we are poor in other languages. As a trading nation that is very dependent on export market, this will be a disaster. Language is a tool for communication and interaction. It is through this tool that we establish a better understanding and relationship.

Having a pass in English for the SPM certificate is an excellent idea. Of course there are problems in its implementation. There is this urban and rural divide problem, the lack of English teachers and the lack of relevant English teaching materials. However, we have to make a start somewhere. If we let this problem hinder us from making a decision, then we will be too late. Progress in the world like time and tide waits for no man including Malaysians. We can spend our time arguing while the world progresses.

Implement it and resolve the bottleneck as we progress along. In the early stages, we do not raise the standards of the English since we are aware of the many bottlenecks and handicaps confronting the students. After 3-5 years of implementation, we gradually raise the standards of English so that we are at par with Singapore as the benchmark. We don’t want Malaysia graduates to speak Tarzan English. Often, because of poor language command, a young graduate or young professional become reclusive and shy away from interaction and expressing their opinion. This will not do the nation proud if we want to be competitive. Personally, I will convey this idea of implementing a pass in English for SPM to Tan Sri Muhyiddin and gradually increasing the standards of English so that those handicapped by the lack of teachers and the teaching infrastructure will not be penalized.


自从丹斯里慕尤丁建议把英文列为马来西亚教育文凭考试(SPM)的必须及格科目后,在国内引起很大的回响。我也曾在部落格针对此发表看法。公开让民众针对政府的建议回馈意见,是好的措施,也是我们所期望的。我们希望政府接纳民众的参和意见。这将使我国的民主进程迈进一步,政府的决定不再是从上而下。无论如何,在搜集各项议论及回馈后,希望政府最终能作出明智的决定,并不会朝夕令改。这是一个教育课题,大家不应该将之情绪化及政治化。


我们被告知,若将英文列为必须及格科目,将有约30%大马教育文凭考生无法及格,或无法考获全文凭。我们了解,在2006年,无法考获SPM的21%考生中,有90%者的英文科不及格。这都不是令人感到欣慰的结果,也显示我国的教育水平持续恶化。如果我们将英文及国语列为SPM的必须及格科目,那可能有40至50%考生无法考获文凭。换言之,即使有数千名考生在SPM考试中考获许多A,这些毕业生的素质也备受置疑。在最近公布的SPM成绩,超过6千500名考生考获全科A。我们不应该沉醉在有多少人考获文凭,反之要关注学生的素质。大规模生产的时代已经过去了,如今人们强调的是真实的水平。


整体看来,我国的教师及教学素质同时衰退。目前,教书不再是一种专业职业。我们常听到,一个人选择教书,是因为他拿不到首选科系。我们也注意到,当下女教师比男教师多。那男生都到哪儿了?我当然不会对女教师有意见,她们大部分都很敬业,且值得信赖。今天,教书是最受人尊重的职业。


可是,往往当官方考试成绩揭榜后,我极少听到有优秀生立志当教师。通常,他们都想晋身医学、工程或法律界。华人教师更少之又少,其中原因可能华人缺乏兴趣,以及公共服务局的歧视态度导致他们却步。此外,擢升教师一直是备受争议课题。你会看到那些很高级的教职人员通常是来自某个族群。其实,当局应该让教师有更好的发展。目前,特优教师只占少数,需要增加这类水准的灵魂工程师。如果能够设立更多等级职位,如特优教师,根据“论功行赏”原则去擢升教师,将提高教师的士气,也可提升教师的专业。毕竟,教师的工作是教学,不是承担重如山的行政工作。
每一次新任教育部长走马上任,我国的教育政策似乎会因为部长不同关注点而出现更动。教育部长不应该未经深入思考,就拿教育政策来看玩笑。教育政策不应该因为人事更动而改变。至少,丹斯里慕尤丁在推行新决定前,给予公众足够时间提出意见。



9 comments:

Lau Chai Ming, Edmund said...

Hi Dr. Chua,

I agree that English should be made a must pass subject.

A lot would complain that the rural area students will have problem. But after attended 11 years of school and learning English, if still fail, where is the problem then?

Lack of teachers or good English teachers, we can try to solve by calling back retired teachers on contract to help rebuild the standards. I'm sure these retired teachers are more happy to get involved.

I also suggest to make B. Malaysia a compulsory credit. Its also time for us to master our own national language. How shame to see some students cant even sing Negaraku.

MYblog said...

If I remember correctly, English was a compulsory subject for MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education)/GCE exam till the mid seventies.

We never had this problem of English being spoken as England, this is a problem created by the so called "clever" politicians who forsake the interest of the nation for political returns. Remind me who was the "clever" Education Minister then that decided that English should not be compulsory, was it Mahathir? the great advocate of English today.

You know Dr. Chua, it pisses me off to see us discussing problems created by politicians, and mostly self serving politicians. Can you guess how long it will take to correct this populist mistake of public policy, probably decades if we succeed, maybe never.

We are always throwing good things into the river in the name of nationalism etc which is actually a very clever device to camouflage the business of populist politics.

What a shame and I notice that I have used the word "clever" 3 times in my comment for something which was really a moronic and terrible mistake. For other issues, look at the staffing in Government offices, promotions etc. what do these advocate?

When will our politicians think of Malaysia and its long term stability and advancement rather than focusing on short term petty self fulfilling returns. Very short sighted indeed, maybe soon enough we will start the rehabilitation and social life can be as it used to be when all races lived in brotherhood and harmony.

Goh Wei Liang said...

Very good piece Datuk Seri. I hope the Government sees the idea as a good one and MCA should place themselves in the frontline also to implement this properly.

To make Malaysia competitive and global, English is indeed the most important thing.

Cheers to you Sir.

Bangsa Cina Malaysia said...

close down all karaoke and places selling beer and liquor immediately.

top chinese executives from all companies under the pretext of entertaining customer after work
are wasting their time and increasing the companys expenses.

on top of this nonsense hanky panky
are aplenty.

the govt should ban all this nonsense immediately and urged all
executives and above to go back to their respective families after work.

i am chinese and i support PAS 100%
on banning of alcohol.

alcohol is nothing but trouble.

marriages are crumbling becoz of this nonsense

i am very sure all the chinese housewives and whatever will
support 100% PAS good intention.

Low C. W. said...

if we already implemented teaching science and math in english WHY not compulsory pass in english for SPM certificate?

YES!

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...

USE & KEEP RIGHT TOOL

A language is often merely a tool
Except when in the hands of a fool
So let's treat it proper and cool
Even when we need it warm as wool

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 110609
http://MotivationInMotion.blogspot.com
Thur. 11th June 2009.

Pearls said...

Bangsa Cina Malaysia aka Ultraman wannabe aka harmtarn chiew yan...

You dont be mad la! The reason for moral decay is not so much of the availability of "temptations". Moral decay happens when parents fail to do their parental job properly!! Some people simply SUCK as parents. So, dont go round saying should ban this and that to safeguard moral. If so, than go shift to the mountains and stay!!

As for this English story, sigh.. to begin with, the teachers we have nowadays are obnoxiously atrocious! This range from skills, knowledge to attitude. "so, how to make terror ah"?? Sigh..

All these talks by Muhyiddin to Ah Bengs by the road about English is nothing but... TALK! If the Education Minister is dead serious about improving the standards of English here, he should know that the only feasible way is to "import" good english teachers in and get going! Rural students can have intensive dose of English at the expense of the government. If our govt can allow such big losses in PKFZ, why not this?

Of course this will not be a permanent solution hence, he will need to make arrangements for our "setengah masak" teachers to go for intensive training at some England teachers' training college. Hopefully, majority of these "setengah masak" teachers will be able to pass with flying colors, come back and take over the teaching task.

This will also solve all mumbo jumbo excuses about rural students and their inability to master the language. (Who was that idiot that gave such stupid excuse anyway??)

So, are we serious about improving or uplifting the standards in English in school? If our government can be so efficient with NS (from suggestion to implementation to actually running those camps in a jiffy few months) I dont see why the same government need to berlenggah lenggok about this matter. "No rush over decision on English" it says on STAR today... Sigh.. MA SI TALK NIA LOR...

xiao wei said...

You have my 100% support on this matter Dato' Seri.

Malaysia said...

Is it true that some "clever politicians" who want to down play English, would actually "cleverly" send their own kids to overseas English medium school/college/university?

If this is true, what an irony? Think about it.

How can our nation develop with short sightedness?

We sincerely pray and hope for better things to come and it starts with leaders who have the foresight anchored on universal (core) values.

Lets do things rationally for long term and unselfishly for the greater good of mankind.

With great concern for our future generations,
Dennis
Process Architect

www.iklanmalaysia.net

Malaysia Classifieds

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.


Thank you for your suggestions.