Archive for the ‘English Medium Schools’ Category

The language debate (1958 to 1969)

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

THE major education review in this period was the Rahman Talib Report in 1961, which was incorporated into the Education Act of 1961.

The report called for all publicly financed secondary schools to only use either Malay or English as the medium of instruction.

While Malay-medium secondary schools were free, English-medium secondary schools required tuition fees.

Both English and Malay were required in examinations to enter secondary schools as well as for post-secondary education.

The Chinese and Tamil languages were to be taught as separate subjects if required, and remove classes were introduced for students who were entering secondary schools from vernacular primary schools.

Chinese secondary schools meanwhile, had to change to either Malay or English as the medium of instruction, or risk losing public financial assistance.

By the mid-1960s, then Education Minister Abdul Rahman Ya’akub initiated a programme to convert the medium of instruction to Bahasa Malaysia. The race riots of May 13, 1969 further accelerated this idea.

In July 1969, as Malaysians were still coming to terms with the events of May 13, the Education Minister announced that English would cease to be the medium of instruction in any school from 1970 onwards.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2013/6/2/education/13185495&sec=education

Building a nation (pre-Independence to 1957)

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

AFTER World War II, educational opportunities increased with the setting up of more English-medium and Malay-medium schools.

However, there was still a significant urban-rural divide in terms of access to English-medium schools and reports at the time noted a relatively low level of support for Malay-medium schools, especially in rural areas.

The first step taken by the colonial government to establish a national education system was with the Barnes Report in 1951.

The report called for all primary schools to be bilingual, using both English and Bahasa Malaysia, and students would go on to English-medium secondary schools after six years of free primary schooling.

This drew strong opposition from some quarters as it was felt that non-Malay vernacular education was completely sidelined; Chinese educationists endorsed the Fenn-Wu Report, which advocated a trilingual system using Bahasa Melayu, English and Chinese.

As the country geared for Independence, the Razak Report in 1956 sought to lay the foundation for a national education system with nation-building aspirations.

It proposed two types of primary schools based on the main medium of instruction; “standard schools” which used Bahasa Melayu, and “standard-type” schools which used either English, Chinese or Tamil. The report also proposed a new “assimilated national type” secondary school for all with English as the medium of instruction.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2013/6/2/education/13185486&sec=education

International schools see Malaysia as prime location for expansion

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has been identified as one of the eight primary locations in Asia for investors to expand international schools.

ISC Research, a company which tracks glo-bal international schools market, said the Malaysian market was set to grow rapidly due to the Government’s removal of restrictions of Malaysians attending international schools and its plans to develop the education sector.

“In the Malaysia Report, ISC Research identified 112 international schools for the country, which saw an increase from just 26 schools in 2000.

“Premium schools are particularly popular, with a third reporting that they have waiting lists. This creates exceptional investment opportunity for new and expanding schools,” said ISC.

In 2009, there were 67 international schools in Malaysia, educating almost 23,000 students. Today, the number stands at 112 international schools teaching 43,000 children.

Among the locations are Kuala Lumpur (24 schools), Petaling Jaya (eight schools) and Johor Baru (seven).

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/6/2/nation/13188359&sec=nation

Global language for integration

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

I AM pleased that there are many Malaysians who like me, think that bringing back English-medium schools is a step in the right direction.

In his column last Sunday, The Star’s executive director and group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai had said that the Government should use English as the medium of instruction in schools again.

If Chinese and Tamil schools have been allowed to exist, perhaps having English-medium schools isn’t a bad idea as racial integration may stand a better chance with the universal language.

I consider myself a “victim” of the nation’s education system. I was proud to attain a distinction in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) English, in 1990. However, it didn’t do me much good. I was not proficient, wasn’t able to communicate well, and struggled in the early years of my career.

It was only through my own effort and determination over time, that I progressed in reading, writing and speaking the language.

I often ask myself why I was “not good” at English despite attaining an “A” in those early years.

The answer, I’m sure lies mainly in the fact that we, as students, were not taught the fundamentals such as the rules of grammar, intonation and pronunciation, which are important when one is learning the language.

The absence of teaching and learning such essential language components at both primary and seconday school, is perhaps one of the many reasons why students like me failed to grasp English.

In fact, if we continue at the rate we are going, I think there will not be much improvement in government schools.

Those who are at an advantage would be those in private schools, where the subject is given more emphasis, or those who speak the language at home.

I must also point out that children in government schools are segregated and hardly mingle with their peers from other backgrounds and culture.

by Eddy Bong, Kuching, Sarawak.

Read more @http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2013/5/26/education/13136524&sec=education

All for use of English in schools

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

ROYAL SUPPORT: English – medium schools can serve as alternative for parents.

JOHOR BARU: RAJA Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah yesterday gave her support for the setting up of English-medium schools.

The consort of the sultan of Johor said she would be all for it if the Education Ministry were to approve the idea.

“Having an English-medium school will serve as an alternative for parents who want their children to be proficient in English.”

She said this after opening the 22nd International Conference of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta).

Raja Zarith Sofiah is the royal patron of the programme. She cited her own experience when she went to England to study after completing her education at the Datin Khadijah national-type primary school in Kuala Kangsar.

“For me, it was not much of a problem because in the 1970s, all school subjects were taught in English. My younger sister, however, found it challenging to cope when she went to England, because during her time, all the subjects were taught in the national language.”

Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah (right) handing over the Hyacinth Gaudart English Language Teacher Award to Wan Hanim Mohamed Noor at the Melta conference in Johor Baru yesterday. Pic by Zulkarnain Ahmad Tajuddin

by Chuah Bee Kim.

Read more @: All for use of English in schools – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/all-for-use-of-english-in-schools-1.288808?cache=03D163D03edding-pred-1.1176%2F%3FpFpentwage63Dp%3A%2Fhe3D03Dn63Frea-

English-medium schools will improve usage of language, says Vincent Tan

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: The re-introduction of English-medium schools is an option in improving the usage of the language among youngsters, says billionaire and philanthropist Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

He acknowledged that bringing back such schools would have its challenges.

“Some may feel that if you don’t solely promote Bahasa Malaysia, you are not a nationalist, but I disagree.

“Bahasa Malaysia is our national language and it is important but so is English. Malaysians should at least be bilingual if not trilingual,” he said.

Malaysians, he said, could decide whether there should be a referendum on the reintroduction of English-medium schools.

As an employer, he said, it was getting tougher to find local graduates proficient in English.

“It is sad to turn away some of these applicants as it may not be their fault. Some merely did not have the opportunity to learn English,” he said.

He said he would not have achieved such success in life if he had been deprived of the opportunity to learn English.

Having studied in an English-medium public school in Batu Pahat, Tan said it had given him the edge to survive in the business world.

Tan said he had to stop schooling after Form Five to work.

“I was from a poor family, yet I was lucky enough to study in an English-medium public school.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/5/26/nation/13142288&sec=nation

Global language for integration

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

I AM pleased that there are many Malaysians who like me, think that bringing back English-medium schools is a step in the right direction.

In his column last Sunday, The Star’s executive director and group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai had said that the Government should use English as the medium of instruction in schools again.

If Chinese and Tamil schools have been allowed to exist, perhaps having English-medium schools isn’t a bad idea as racial integration may stand a better chance with the universal language.

I consider myself a “victim” of the nation’s education system. I was proud to attain a distinction in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) English, in 1990. However, it didn’t do me much good. I was not proficient, wasn’t able to communicate well, and struggled in the early years of my career.

It was only through my own effort and determination over time, that I progressed in reading, writing and speaking the language.

I often ask myself why I was “not good” at English despite attaining an “A” in those early years.

The answer, I’m sure lies mainly in the fact that we, as students, were not taught the fundamentals such as the rules of grammar, intonation and pronunciation, which are important when one is learning the language.

The absence of teaching and learning such essential language components at both primary and seconday school, is perhaps one of the many reasons why students like me failed to grasp English.

In fact, if we continue at the rate we are going, I think there will not be much improvement in government schools.

Those who are at an advantage would be those in private schools, where the subject is given more emphasis, or those who speak the language at home.

I must also point out that children in government schools are segregated and hardly mingle with their peers from other backgrounds and culture.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2013/5/26/education/13136524&sec=education

Expert: Students deserve the opportunity to master the English language

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

PETALING JAYA: English is used as a medium of instruction in international schools – but only a small percentage of Malaysians go to such schools.

“What about the fisherman’s children from Terengganu and other students from the rural areas? Don’t they deserve the opportunity to master English?” said the Association of International Malaysian Schools past president Margaret Kaloo.

Kaloo, who is the chief executive officer of elc International School, said currently, only a very small percentage of Malaysians sent their children to international schools in the country.

International schools, she said, might be the best place for parents who wanted their children to have a stronger foundation in English.

“Most students in international schools are able to achieve native-speaker proficency level since they learn all subjects in English,” she said.

Kaloo was commenting on the column by The Star executive director and group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai on bringing back English-medium schools.

In his column on Sunday, Wong said that if there were Chinese and Tamil primary schools alongside national schools, there was no reason for Malaysians not to have other options.

Kaloo, who was supportive of the idea to bring back English-medium schools, said Malaysians must realise that it was no longer the language of the colonial masters but the language of international business.

by Kang Soon Chen.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/5/21/nation/13136559&sec=nation

More want English-medium schools option

Monday, May 20th, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Should the Government allow English-medium schools as an option alongside existing national and vernacular schools?

“Yes” was the most popular response given by Malaysians on Twitter responding to the question using the hashtag #MyEnglish, initiated by The Star Online on Sunday.

English teacher Sheila Victor @SheilaVictor2 was in favour of the language being brought back as a medium of instruction in the Malaysian education system.

“Yes, it is the ONLY language that can UNITE Students and the rakyat of Malaysia without seeming racist,” she tweeted.

Twitter user Douglas Chin @douglaschin built on The Star columnist Wong Chun Wai’s suggestion of having the option of English as a medium of instruction.

“In full agreement on bringing back English schools. It’s the best solution for national reconciliation and unity,” he tweeted.

Some others believed that no such move should be taken without a detailed plan.

User @izzwan and @MFaiezAli both tweeted that any plans to reintroduce English schools should be preceded with improvement of the education system.

by Loshana K. Shagar.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/5/19/nation/20130519153819&sec=nation

Bring back English schools

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

It is unhealthy for race relations when the student population in Chinese schools is 99.9% Chinese, Tamil schools is 100% Indian and national schools, dubbed Malay schools, is 80% to 90% Malay.

SERIOUSLY, the government should allow the use of English as a medium of instruction in schools again. If there are Chinese and Tamil primary schools alongside national schools, there is no reason for Malaysians not to have other options.

At present, the other option for better English proficiency is in private schools, which allocate more time for the teaching of English despite following the national school syllabus. However, it is an expensive option that only a few can afford.

Why should the right of Malaysians to study in English-medium schools be enjoyed only by those who can afford to study at international schools?

There are many good reasons for English-medium schools to be reintroduced, chief of which must surely be the language’s neutral status whereby no one can claim ownership to it.

Older Malaysians who went to English-medium schools can testify that it was in such an environment that they made many friends of all ethnic backgrounds.

The English schools, as they were popularly referred to, were neutral grounds and were real cultural melting pots.

Friendship cultivated at primary school level among Malaysians of different races and religions would always be strong and deep. Our current primary school system basically does not provide such opportunities for our young ones to mix.

We do get to mix with one another later on in life, but working relationships that are untested or superficial are not true friendships.

Older Malaysians can narrate long stories of how they used to sleep over at their friends’ homes, eating with their friends’ families and parents of their friends treating them like their own children. These friendships continued even after they went to university, entered working life, and got married.

These are the kinds of friends who would be part of the wedding entourage, either on the side of the bride or bridegroom.

I am now 52 years old. I believe I was among the last batch of Malaysians who had the privilege of being taught in English.

While some may dismiss what I have said as elitist or an attempt to glorify English at the expense of the national language, let me set the record straight. In Form 6, I opted to study Malay Literature and sat for the exam in Upper Six, which was then called Higher School Certificate and is the equivalent of the STPM today. It was also the entrance exam into local universities. I also studied Islamic History.

by Wong Chun Wai.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/5/19/nation/13120974&sec=nation