English level in Malaysia not that high yet, say teachers

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is still some way off before it can reach an internationally accepted level of English proficiency, according to the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta).

Referring to Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan’s comments that Malaysians’ grasp of the English language was better than Singaporeans, Melta president Assoc Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam said statistics provided in the Malaysian Education Blueprint showed otherwise.

Other documents released by the ministry and government agencies also showed the proficiency level was not there yet, he said.

He disagreed with the English Proficiency Index by Sweden-based EF Education First, which Kamalanathan cited during a conference on Saturday.

Kamalanathan’s remarks drew flak on social media, with people accusing the ministry of resorting to inaccurate surveys.

“These type of surveys often have business and marketing agendas. If the ministry wants to know the truth, it should commission an independent and professional organisation to undertake a full-scale study on the quality of English among Malaysians of all levels and age groups,” said Dr Ganakumaran.

Universiti Malaya lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Sharmini Patricia Gabriel concurred, saying lecturers had found they could not teach at the level they used to.

“We find that we are not able to teach students critically and creatively like we used to, as their command of the language is limited.

“I have been lecturing since 1990 and I definitely see students coming in with lower proficiency,” said Dr Sharmini, who teaches English Literature.

She also doubted Kamalanathan’s comparison, saying the approach of both countries towards the language made all the difference.

“Singapore uses English as one of its official languages. Here in Malaysia, it is taught as the second or foreign language. People still look at it as an alien language,” she said.

SUMBER : THE STAR

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PKS@L serlah kreativiti pelajar

Mohd. Firdaus Nawawi (duduk, kanan) membuat demonstrasi pelancaran roket air kepada pelajar semasa Program Kembara Sains@Langkawi di SMK Kedawang, Langkawi, semalam.

LANGKAWI 29 Mac – Beliau berkata, idea mudah ber­kenaan sebenarnya memberi ruang khususnya kepada pelajar untuk mempelajari elemen sains melalui aktiviti menyeronokkan.

“Kami buat program mudah se­perti ini bukannya kerana kami tidak dapat membuat program yang lebih canggih, tetapi program mudah seperti ini lebih dekat di hati pelajar,” katanya ketika ditemui pada program anjuran Pusat Sains Negara (PSN) di sini hari ini.

Katanya, ini merupakan kali pertama PSN mengadakan program empat hari bermula hari ini di pulau peranginan ini dan akan membabitkan seramai 3,000 pelajar daripada kesemua 28 buah sekolah di sini akan menyertainya serta mendapat manfaat daripada penganjurannya.

Program berlangsung di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kedawang hari ini dan esok dan di SMK Mahsuri pada 1 hingga 2 April ini menyajikan pameran interaktif, aktiviti sains jalanan, persembahan sains, sains lapangan, bengkel sains dan bicara saintis.

Mohd. Firdaus berkata, menerusi program ini, PSN menyasarkan untuk menerapkan minat dalam kalangan pelajar untuk meminati bidang sains dan seterusnya menjadi pemangkin untuk mengikis fobia terhadap bidang itu dalam kalangan masyarakat.

“Sasaran kami adalah untuk menyemai minat terhadap bidang sains dan teknologi di peringkat akar umbi pada peringkat umur yang seawal mungkin. Kami hendak mengubah persepsi masyarakat yang secara umumnya sering mengatakan sains itu susah,” katanya.

PSN ditubuhkan pada 1988 di bawah Kementerian Sains, Teknologi dan Inovasi dengan mandat untuk membina masyarakat berbudaya sains, sejajar dengan wawasan kerajaan untuk melahirkan generasi penyumbang dalam bidang sains dan teknologi.

SUMBER : UTUSAN MALAYSIA