Dire need for English to be a must-pass subject.

CRUCIAL MOVE: Experts say teachers must be trained, facilities improved before any change.

KUALA LUMPUR: PARENTS and students have given the thumbs up for the Education Ministry’s proposal to make English a must-pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) president Datuk Ali Hassan said the move was crucial but the ministry should make thorough preparations before implementing it.

“It is about time we made English a must-pass subject. However, necessary measures to improve facilities and train teachers have to be taken to ensure students will not suffer at the end of the day.”

He said schools should also give their full commitment by incorporating the use of English in curricula and co-curricula activities.

“The implementation should not be sudden. Students should be mentally prepared. Activities such as debates and forums would be a good start to instil confidence in students.”

He said teaching and learning materials should be upgraded and teachers should be retrained to ensure better results when the move is implemented.

Former teacher Lee Mei Ling, 41, said the ministry’s suggestion was a step forward to realising the vision of making Malaysia an educational hub.

“There is a dire need for Malaysian students to improve their command of English. But are we prepared?”

She said the plans have to be attainable, thus, the ministry must be prepared before implementing any changes in the system.

“The ministry has to make sure the teachers are ready. Students, especially from rural areas, will also need extra attention.”

Parent Fawziah Mohd Shahar, 42, said making English a must-pass SPM subject will push students to improve their command of the language.

“It is important for students at the SPM level to master English as most of the course work, assignments and references in universities and colleges are in English.

by  Lavanya Lingan.

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