English matters

Our writer examines various factors that could affect the national education landscape with regard to English-medium schools.

THERE has been an increased interest from certain quarters to allow the use of English as a medium of instruction in schools again.

Presently, English as a medium of instruction is already available but only in private and international schools. Only a small percentage of Malaysians can afford to go to such schools.

As there are Chinese and Tamil vernacular primary schools alongside national schools, some say that Malaysians should have the freedom for another option.

But if English medium-schools are given the green-light, what would be the possible challenges in setting them up, and how will the re-introduction of such schools affect the national education landscape?

Amidst talk over the medium of instruction in our schools, there seems to be some confusion over the law.

A former judge caused a stir last month when he said that vernacular schools “offended” the Federal Constitution, while a recent Bernama report on the brewing controversy over vernacular schools quoted a local academician as saying that the Government should not continue a “vernacular school system at the secondary level”.

Section 17 of the Education Act 1996, enacted under the auspices of the Constitution, plainly states that the national language is to be the main medium of instruction in all schools under the national education system except for vernacular schools.

by  Priya Kulasagaran.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2013/07/07/English-matters.aspx

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