Ministry working on improving standard of English in schools — Maszlee

Dr Maszlee Malik

KUCHING, September 7: The Ministry of Education is working on improving the quality of teaching, teachers and students’ proficiency in English across the country.

Dr Maszlee Malik said his ministry would strive to improve on all these aspects within five years. His office would even help Sarawak improve its quality of English language teaching and students’ proficiency in the language.

“When we talk about English language, two things are involved: quality of teachers and quality of curriculum. So, we are trying our best to help Sarawak as well as schools all over Malaysia to enhance the quality of English in terms of teaching and teachers and also the quality of students’ proficiency in this global lingua franca.

“That is our promise and that is the ministry’s passion within these five years,” he said when asked if Sarawak would be allowed to use English as a teaching medium in schools.

The Ministry of Education recently told Parliament that it was against the use of English as the medium of instruction in national schools because it violates Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution and the National Language Act 1963/67, and contravenes the letter and spirit of the Education Act 1996.

The written reply in Parliament from the ministry said to preserve and honour the supremacy of the constitution and the law, the ministry does not suggest that English be used as the medium of instruction in schools, including schools in Sarawak.

“Raising the standard of English among students can be done from time to time through other methods that are in line with the law and present education policies,” said the ministry.

This was in response to a question by Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri, who had asked for the ministry’s stance on Sarawak schools using English as the medium of instruction. Article 152(1) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that Bahasa Malaysia is the national language.

Section 17 of the National Education Act 1996, meanwhile, states Bahasa Malaysia must be the main medium of instruction in schools except in national-type schools, where the national language must be taught as a compulsory subject. — DayakDaily