I must say that I am happy to see that the BN government had eventually come to some sense of trying to raise the standard of English in our country by requiring a pass in the English subject for SPM examination.
For decades, educationalist, professionals and others alike had been concerned about the standard of English in our primary and secondary schools. This when compare to the English standard of earlier days the gap is really worrying. A couple of generations of our people had lost their opportunity to learn good English, and mind you, Malaysian of all races speak good English when given a chance to learn . Many of us are linguistically inclined.
English is undeniable an international language and the learning of which would definitely give an advantage to a person whether in the field of commercial, academics and others and that would surly put us be at par with many of the other countries in the world, if not better.
Saying it easy, however, to really bring the standard of English in our school to a higher level is not an easy job and it will come with time, gradually and in stages. First of all we would need all the learning tools we can lay our hands on. Teachers will have to be well trained and well prepaid also, starting solidly from the earlier stages of education like in the primary and junior primary school. We must not forget that many of the teachers probably did not come out from an English speaking environment when they were students and now they have to teach the language.
The situation could be even more difficult for rural schools, being rural, and there must be special effort put in to make sure that be they rural or urban schools, progress must be the same and no one should be left behind.
Than again, as for Chinese students, they would have three languages to learn and pass and could poise a problem for some but must and could be overcome.
But, whatever it is, though the requirement for a pass in English is needed for SPM would be an added pressure for most students but it also poise itself as a challenge to the students to spend more time in their studies and do better. After all that is what they are in school for to learn and to study.
It is sad to say that the standard of our English had dropped so much during the long rule of the Mahathir regime. For over two decades we suffer and that is why it is important that politician must not meddle in Eduacation for their political gain at the expanse of the country as a whole. It is best be left to the Educationalists and the Professionals.
Chiew Chin Sing.
10th June, 2009