Bolehland Drama

Antiques of the Land where everything crooked and upside-down Boleh! (Can do!)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

English & the Malaysian education system

firehawk Said:March 2nd, 2006 at 01: 50.31

I agree with undergrad that it is not the standard of english that is in question here. After all, the person who wrote that might have been just a recent SPM cert holder.

I don’t have to go so far as to blame others for poor command of a language. My tamil is even worse that the above level of english. I sacrificed my mother tongue for better command of english and malay. At best my command of other languages is at a basic level. I am ashamed of this and when I have time I try to improve my command of tamil, cantonese and spanish. Still in the case of my tamil, I am ashamed.

The truth is, there is little help available by the government to help the people especially when they enter the real working world as young adults and at university.My suggestion is not to insult anyone with bad english or command of whatever other languages. Its the policy that we had set in the past is the one that should be blamed for our current situation.

In my opinion, a countryman’s weakness or ineptness is our collective responsibility.

firehawk Said:March 2nd, 2006 at 02: 22.05

My suggestions to the Education Ministries are as follows:

1) From Primary 4 onwards, make taking another language subject compulsory for all in schools whether it is Mandarin, Tamil etc. Make it part of the school curriculum. Cater for all levels ie. stream classes. This way, SJK may soon fall out of favour and better unity may be fostered. Exams could be split into 3 levels, basic, intermediate and advanced.

2) Same should be done at secondary schools and all public and hopefully private universities. This time standards should be raised ie. intermediate and advanced. To this end, many many more language teachers should be trained and re-hired from retirement as they have done/ are doing for english.

3) Islamic education and moral studies should be thought as afterschool classes. In the case, of Islamic studies, the traditional evening schools should be brought back to support the local schools.

4) More continuing education should be given to teachers to sustain their interest and to build their proffesional portfolio. Better pay should be given and better monitoring of teachers and schools should be done by the district departments. District/State school rankings should be introduced.

Growing up I have realised that an open mind and persistence can land a person many rewards. A sure way to have a more open mind in my opinion is to embrace another culture. Learning a language is a sure way to opening cultural doors to a person especially if it is not his native culture.

Instead of spending billions like Mahathir did for megaprojects, I agree with Pak Lah to be more conservative but not too conservative, hopefully.

Having said that, money has to be spent on education. Only with world class education and grasp of the global world can we have better ties with other countries. This will invariably lead to more business opportunities and a robust knowledge based economy.

Learning 3 languages in school must sound a handful but I feel it is a must for a country like Malaysia to prosper and embrace the benefits of our multicultural society. English should eventually play a leading role with BM only for language and literature purposes. We can be rojak, but not too rojak. English for Education, Malay for patriotism and nationalism, Mandarin/Tamil for business and general education. We can do one better than Singapore ;)

Regardless of what certain parties say regarding our science and maths syllabus, our theoretical knowledge up to STPM is of a high standard. I have studied in Singapore and UK. While standards across the causeway are certainly high, if not the highest in the world, in UK it is not up to the Malaysian standard, not theoretically anyway. We just need to consolidate what we have and improve on our shortcomings ie language command and practical components.

firehawk Said:March 2nd, 2006 at 02: 38.29

Government departments and big corporations esp MNCs should also play a role and have afternoon classes for employees to be more adepth at a chosen language.

As all of you can see, my slogan essentially reads, ‘Multi-Language Command for Malaysian Globalisation’.

firehawk from


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