English is compulsory for a pass in SPM

@rosdimy (3936)
Malaysia
June 14, 2009 9:20am CST
The government has decided to make it compulsory for students to pass the English Paper in SPM examination if they want to get the certificate. I whole heartedly support this move. Due to a blind or misguided nationalistic zeal a pass in the English Paoer was not necessary. As a result the standard of English proficiency in the country kept on dropping even among local graduates. Even young English teachers only managed to get a Band 3 Pass in MUET. Someone spread the news (New Sunday Times, 14th June 2009) that this will lead to 130,000 students failing to get the grade. Based on past history I believe this is only a scare tactic. I know of English teachers who are more interested in things other than become a real teacher and do some real teaching. Dedicated teachers are a rare breed. I hope the government will not capitulate to demands based on something which cannot really be proven. Any comment on this planned enforcement?
1 person likes this
3 responses
@scheng1 (24850)
• Singapore
1 Jul 09
I think that is a wise move, provided that they emphasize the importance of the mother tongue as well. If they could make it compulsory for students to pass English and Mother tongue in SPM, and STPM, that will be better. English is a commerical language, but mother tongue is the heart and soul of a culture. Both are equally important. Many books are available only in English, and many technical terms are expressed in English, it is good to learn English, and absorb the knowledge available in English text.
1 person likes this
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
1 Jul 09
The mother tongue has never been neglected. Certain politicians are running out of issues, and grabbing anything that can be used against the government. There are also people who like to blame others for their failings. Many teachers supoprt the Opposition. They teach in Malay. Yet their students are not getting high marks in the subjects that they teach. If these so called defenders of the mother tongue are genuine, they should write articles and books using the national language. They should try using available Malay words, instead of taking things easy, leading to words like 'kondisi(condition), refleksi(reflection), naseri(nursery,and tensyen' being used by them. I prefer using either English or Malay. The idea of using Malaynised English words brings shivers to my brain.
@scheng1 (24850)
• Singapore
1 Jul 09
Hi, I agree that many politicians are very short sighted in the way they handle things. Many of them like to create a lot of noises but no practical action. It's a pity about the bridge over the Causeway. Wonder why they start to build the bridge, then give up halfway, now it looks so awful, and destroys the downtown businesses of Johor Bahru. Hopefully they can learn to talk less, and do more for the people.
@akuler (3539)
• Malaysia
30 Jun 09
Hi rosdimy, Frankly speaking, I fail on my SPM English exam. I am totally know nothing about English. Be it in spelling or grammar. I only start learn this languages when I when to university. Even now I am still in the process of learning. You can see what I do wrong here and there in my posting. I agree if government want to make it compulsory English pass to get a SPM certificate but with this conditions:- 1. Train a very good English teacher. If they are looking to train oversea teacher please go to where English is main languages there. I hardly understand what Indian or Pakistani lecturer try to say when I were in my collage due to their pronunciation. 2.Give sometime to the pupil to adept this system. This is very important to the rural student especially in the state like Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan and a few more. English something strange language to them. If this system enforce immediately, take my word, almost 80% of malay and bumis will fail in SPM. 3. Don't politicize this issue. This is the BIG problem in Malaysia. Almost every issues become a political issues. They always try to be a champion on that issues. And the loser are the ordinary people. I love to see all of my countrymen can speak English fluently. But, please don't make this as an trial and error. The future of the student and will be leader in our community is in this politician hand. Thanks for the discussion and have a nice day.
1 person likes this
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
30 Jun 09
Thank you for your fairly long response. The main important thing to remember when learning something is to have a positive attitude. Never say it is difficult, say that I have not understood it yet. I was from a Malay medium school. After that I entered MRSM as a pioneer. I chose MRSM over SDAR because I thought it was a Malay medium school. I was wrong. The difference between MRSM and other full boarding school was no Remove Year fof ex-Malay medium students. There were 30 of us, and we never complained. There was no tuition classes. Yet 10 of us managed to get an A1 (95% +) in our LCE. That is why I believe it can be done. When I was a teacher I managed to convince many students on the effectiveness of a different approach to learning English. Even though the students and many parents were impressed, I was chastised by the other teachers because of not following exactly the curriculum. This is the main problem with many present day teachers. They follow whatever is written in the book, and could not be bothered to find ways more suitable for their students. The English teacher need not be a foreigner. As long as the local teacher is prepared to learn more, and prepared to accept mistakes, things will be generally fine. The other teachers must accept the fact that getting an improvement is the main target, regardless of how it is done.
@hanah87 (1846)
• Malaysia
20 Jun 09
I dont think english will be down and i believe Malay language will down day by day because of Malaysia government's move.I have see many Malaysian who do not know how to speak Malay and only know how to speak english.I believe one day Malaysia will be like India and other countries in Africa which do not know how to speak their own language and just know how to speak english.I dont hate english language but i want to see our government improve and take care our language.Why Japanese and Chinese can be success too without use english?Maybe we should learn from them about how to success by use our own language.Thank you.
1 person likes this
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
22 Jun 09
I brought up the subject as a former language teacher, and current part time assignment conzultant. As I understand from your response, you may not have read my discussion properly, or do not understand it in the wider context that it was touching. In general the standard of Rnlish in Malaysia has fallen, way below than what it used to be. There are many graduates who are unable to hold a conversation, graduates who are unable to express themselves, and undergarduates who misunderstood standard English. I have met Malaysians who do not know how to speak Malay, and most of them went to vernacular schools. The government has been trying to improve the standard of Malay, but it is not being supported by people who go to vernacular schools, and basically hate everything connected with the Malay language. For political reasons many people are raising this issue, painting a negative image of the government. I have met people, including those in the teaching profession, who are against any move to raise back the standard of English in the country. They are not using proper Malay, and using Malaynised English words. Because they have studied in various universities they feel many Malay words, which have been used for many years, are not on par. In other words they are doing exactly the opposite as what they claim to be, protectors of the Malay language. Even though I lived in the UK for 8 years, I was horrified to see the changes in the Malay language. Even my friends who support the opposition, tried to justify the changes. Even up to now I am still using mostly the Malay language of the 1970's. Why should I use words like 'kualiti, individu, woksyop, informasi, visi, misi, reformasi (popularised by an opposition leader), bombastik, injeksi, revolusi, nota, and meditasi,' when there are Malay equivalents which had been in use? Do you use any of the words listed above? Do you know the original Malay word for 'radio'? The Japanese were successful because they worked hard and did not expect government subsidies, because after the Second World War there was not enough money. They produced quality goods. You should have read the early manual translations. The Chinese used to work for little pay. Therefore the goods that they produced were relatively cheaper. As a result their goods were in demand. Study the political and economic situation of any country before making sweeping statements. Malaysians, especially Malays,tend to blame others on their failures due to their own fault. Look around and see how many Malays are really serious in obtaining more knowledge. They surf the Internet to look for entertainment. They spend a lot of time texting. They expect to be given things that they want on a silver platter. When they did not get them they start blaming other things. Currently the English language is their weapon to hit the government. If they are so concerned about the Malay language why is it in areas where they are in control the people's proficiency in the Malay language is low? How come Malay students taught by teachers who oppose the use of English still fail in subjects like Geography and History? We should bear in mind that currently English is the lingua franca of the world. Just look at the countries which are basically closed to the outside world. It all comes back to the individual. With determination and resources a person can get a grasp of any language he/she wants, wherever the person may be. If we want to protect any particular language, prove that we are very proficient in it, and using it in its pure form. all the best, rosdimy