Tuesday, 9 June 2009

English, a must pass?

When I read yesterday about the DPM's desire to make English a must pass subject at the SPM level, I thought, I should not comment yet. Lets listen to what others have to say. Then I thought, "Oh, what the heck".

I have been a teacher of English language since 1977. I have taught in various non-elite schools for the pass 32 years. When I first taught English we used the structural syllabus then we used the communicative syllabus.

I have seen the standard of English deteriorate from year to year. I had all the time wondered, with this deterioration, where would we be able to find competent teachers of the English language to teach the subject? As it is right now, we still have teachers from the old school teaching English but, we, meaning yours sincerely included, are now in our mid-fifties.

Let me relate one experience. A few years back, I was in the canteen and in came a trainee. I struck up a conversation with him and found that his English was passable  for conversation sake. So what's the big deal? Don't all young ones, or most of them, speak less than perfect English?

The answer is yes. So no big deal here but it became a big deal to me on that day when the teacher told me that his option was English. Now here you have someone who spoke foul English, a mere 8 weeks short of his posting as an English teacher.

Let me relate another story. I could have told it already but it is still relevant here. A science teacher who was transferred to Terengganu met me on his visit to Penang. He was one of the many, Maths and Science teachers in my school, who taught the subjects in Malay because he could not string a single sentence without making a mistake. He told me how some Maths and Science teachers in his new school in Terengganu were forced by the school to also teach English.

The rational? If they could teach Maths and Science in English, they could surely teach English. He admitted to me that those teachers were as good, or as bad as him, which ever way you would like to look at it, in English.

I discussed about this matter with many other friends who told me of their own horror stories. The problem is that when in urban areas this problem may not be that serious, but if you asked me, I could swear that they are serious. The problem gets utterly gut wrenching as we head further interior.

Now we have a DPM who is flirting with the idea of making English a must pass subject in schools, (I could have sworn I saw an evil shadow behind him) without thinking of the consequences. I wonder if that evil shadow suggested this to him as a lifeline to justify the continuity of PPSMI?

Look, this could be a bargaining point to persist with PPSMI. They could say, "Okay, we have decided not to go ahead with this idea of making English a must pass, but considering that English is so important, we will continue with PPSMI", or, they could say that they are going ahead with this idea and therefore PPSMI is all the more relevant.

Look, I am not against making English an important subject. I am all for it. As it is right now, the malays only speak one language and that is BM while the Indians and Chinese have two if not three.

As it is right now, the passing mark for English is so low that a student whose English you would laugh at would most likely pass the subject at SPM level. What happens when a pass in English is made compulsory?

With the present shit syllabus of ours and the present competence of many of the English teachers we have, it would be magical if a school could touch 60 percent passes in English and I am talking about the present low passing mark.

What would happen is that upon completion of the first SPM exam with English made a must pass, the people in the ministry would panic because the number of students passing English is so low, with a majority of rural Malay students failing SPM because they failed English. The immediate remedy? The passing mark would be brought down even lower.

Some may ask why would they want to lower it down? Presently only a pass in BM is required for one to pass the SPM and most schools with Malay majority students would score about 80 percent passes just because about 80 percent of their students pass BM. If you make English compulsory then the percentage of passes would go down to 50 percent or even 30 or even 15 percent in some schools? Now have you heard the natinal average ever going down for the pass 10 to 15 years? To at least maintain the present pass rate, they would definitely have to bring down the passing mark to a ridiculous low level, as if the present low level is not ridiculous enough.

If they do not want to bring it down so drastically where 5 marks constitute a pass, they would water down the questions. Yes, standard 5 or 6 questions being set for SPM just to make more people pass. Doesn't it defeat the whole purpose then?

What kind of high school graduates would we have then? They would have a pass or even credit in English but not able to construct a decent sentence in English. By this time, we would be producing teachers with even poorer command of the language and they are the ones who would be teachers of the English language. Imagine the kind of English that they would impart on their students then.

Let's not make the same BIG MISTAKE we made with PPSMI when it was simply pushed down the throats of the rakyat. I am a teacher, I know what the standard is in school and I am teaching in an urban school. I wonder how it is in the Terengganu school my friend is teaching in.

Yes, we can make English a compulsory subject to pass but if the Minister would like to see it done in his lifetime, then don't do it. It would be a disservice to the people. For once get out of that evil shadow behind you.

Re-examine the syllabus. Get new, better text books with plenty of exercises. These exercises could even help the English language teachers improve their own command of the language. The present text books stink.

When I say plenty of exercises, I mean plenty of exercises. That is how Chinese schools make their students excel in maths.

Please don't say that you would send English teachers for some stupid courses. These stupid courses just don't work. Many of them were sent for PPSMI courses and came back teaching the subjects in Malay. Why? They are simply overworked to find the time to improve on their skills. All the time they have to spend polishing up on the language is spent on clerical work and the many unnecessary Saturdays they were forced to come back to school.

I hate to use this cliche but I have to. Please remember, failure to plan is planning to fail.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, and I agree totally. Some students can't even string a sentence, and their basic grammar is zilch, yet they can get a credit in the subject. I recall a chief examiner saying examiners should be lenient as the students are stressed up in the exam, so don't be strict! Also, the present oral assessment stinks. Students who can't even read a simple word can pass, why? The teachers don't want to put themselves in a bad light, for the results of the students reflect on them, so they just give them marks.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Anonymous,
The present oral exams is a joke. I told that to the visiting Pentaksir.
I always right about this in my reports. I don't care what they want to say.

Anonymous said...

The education system has gone to the dogs. The government thinks that sending teachers to UK to take up an English course is like waving a wand and the standard of English will improve. It's just a waste of money. You are right, those teachers who are good English teachers are already in the mid fifties, so chances are, things will go from bad to worse. Retired English teachers should be re employed, but then it's only on paper, the reality is only a selected group are re employed, the rest.. high hopes.

Tiger said...

Sadly, the level of English, the international language, is dropping even further in this country. Which is why most of our graduates are refused jobs by the MNCs.

tonka said...

"As it is right now, the passing mark for English is so low that a student whose English you would laugh at would most likely pass the subject at SPM level."

just wondering...since when did they lower the passing mark for english..or any other subject.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Anonymous,
That has always been their style. Have courses and the problem should go away. Shit heads.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Tigers,
I am not surprised at all. I have seen the English of those with A1. My god, malu.

Kata Tak Nak said...

tonka,
This was done a long time ago. There were times 8 marks for physics constitutes a pass.
When the 1st students of PPSMI took their PMR, our trial eaxams passes were 20 to 30 percent but after PMR 60 percent passed. Magic?

Anonymous said...

there is nothing wrong in the language. teach English for Science and Maths, as well teach other languages, for example Mandarin for Motivation subject, and Tamil for Art.

when the country has a Donkey-mindset for its Leader, the nation is expecting a Monkey-future. Mandarin in well demanded in Chinese population regions, i.e. of 2 billion market, similarly Tamil could rake good career opportunities globally. Indians and Chinese are at every corner of the World.

why limit Malays to only Felda and Sime Darby lands, hence limiting the potential to succeed as good as Obama or Lee Kuan Yew. nevger use local leader as benchmark as they are bunch of losers and born failures!

why so benggap one? who???? everyone know ma.... there are so many of them!

Anonymous said...

Kata Tak Nak, you are right again, eveb those with 1A English cannot write decently Malu. I have students who obtained 4C and they are now taking TESL, and will be teaching English in a few years' time. It's a vicious cycle.

frankie said...

With the advancement of the internet and the prominent usage of English in business, technology, science and medical, the education minister still want to refer this question to the public? I am embarassed by the education minister's action, it showed he has no will power to do something important for the country. The minister just want to be popular, don't give a damn on ensuring the country's progress.

We used to have excellent teachers, among my best english teacher is a Malay gentleman, who looks like the late Tunku, always wear a songkok, never shy with his rotan but excellent commitment, excellent passion and at standard 5, we already prepared to stay back after school for some extra english lesson from him.

Frankly, I think our education system is so messed up, the education minister we had all the time, never take their job seriously, most used it as stepping stone to something bigger. Since Education ministry has a big budget allocation every year, it is also a very rewarding position where enterpreneurship reveals its ugly head. So instead of churning out quality students, the ministry's budget is being used to help out cronies.

And we are being asked if English should be made a compulsary pass? How many more generations have to suffer before the minister wake up?

manletih said...

Jangan jadi bodoh dan bengap. Ini negara Malaysia. Bahasa Malaysia wajib untuk lulus ok la.

Yang pandai berbahasa English / Mandarin / Tamil tu pun tak kemana juga. Duduk kerja meroyan di Malaysia juga.

Bahalol tak boleh diajar. Tiada siapa larang pun kalau rakyat nak belajar bahasa apa pun di dunia ini. Tapi keluar la duit sendiri. Jangan nak harap kerajaan sahaja.

Di sekolah rendah dan menengah belajar bahasa Malaysia. Bahasa lain jadikan pilihan.

Tak belajar bahasa Jepun dan Rusia pun ada pelajar yang ke Universiti Jepun dan Rusia.

Muhyidin dah takda keje lain ke. You are much better than that!

*hehe*
Yang lulus TOEFL dengan markah lebih baik dari si Americans. Sekolah Kebangsaan je.

Hamba said...

How are you and the answer from a uni graduate was " I am in the well!" and the uni graduate replied in a very confident manner. 100% mark on confidence but -ve mark for grammar and basic English! This is the uni graduate that we have now and do we expect Malaysia (malays) to excel in anything? By the way try asking Ali Rustam something in english and he'll reply with rubbish ( well, he always reply with rubbish and in malay too)so if a CM is not 'terror' in english will he be penalised?. And if we have A C4 oopps sorry, 4C student accepted in TESL, can we blame the student for not learning? Cos then we'll have crabs teaching it's young to walk straight ( Muhyiddin can be categorised as a crab too cos his England not that terrorlahh), in fact most of the cabinet members are crab too except Ali Rustam cos everyone in Melaka already called him Ali Ketam! As you say it's a vicious cycle but a cycle that was started by the idiotic politician in power ( who else...UMNOlahhh!). P.s - sorry cikgu.. my comment a bit jumbled up, still a bit miffed with PAS delegates for electing that nasha....Urrrghh!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Anonymous 15:24,
They should plan and not do things as they wish and when they wished. Nothing should be done without consultation. This thing should be well thought of and if need to be done than only do it after preparations has been done. Not like the PPSMI, simply shoved down people's throat. In the end the kampung people rugi, the UMNO big-wigs untung supply everything.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Anonymous 15:27
Yes, imagine as this cycle goes on, one day we will have people who can't spell teaching.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Frankie,
They should first have a look at the syllabus. making it compulsory should only come after all the proper infrastructure in put in place. By proper infrastructure I mean, a workable syllabus, well thought off and well planned text-books, not text-books penned by some pengarah's brother in law or cousins, competent teachers and many more.

Kata Tak Nak said...

manletih,
Bahasa Melayu mesti diwajibkan itu saya tak tolak langsung. Bahasa Inggeris mesti digalakkan tapi belum sampai tahap diwajibkan untuk lulus. Kalu nak wajibkan bagi lulus mesti lah semuanya bersedia. Jangan buat hanya sebab menteri rasa perlu atau Mahathir kata perlu.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Hamba,
That is what scares me. Those who are excellent in English would chose to be lawyers or some other profesionals. What is left? The lousy one chose teaching because it just doesn't pay well. So we will have not so good teachers teaching English. Couple this with the clerical duties they have, things look gloomy for the education system, very gloomy and the best part is that no one is willing to admit it.

Pak Idrus said...

Just reintroduce back the English School and call it Sekolah Kebangsaan Jenis English and let the parent choose which school to send their children. In the mean time introduce English literature to all the other school, so that they too would progress in the English language too. Once this is done revert the teaching of Math and English to it previous status, the language of the particular school i.e. Malay, Chinese & Tamil.

English is a language of knowledge. If you do not know English What books or academic material are you going to read after living the University. 99 percent of all the books in our books stores are either in English or Mandarin or Japanese.

ake care.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Pak Idrus,
I agree about English being the language of knowledge that is why I advocate a relook into the syllabus and textbooks. This must be done fast while we still have the teachers.
When doing this, English languahe teachers should be consulted, not some upstart who just graduated from Harvard or Cambridge without any knowledge of what is going on the field.
They never ever consult the people they should. Its like consulting an accountant about what plants to plant and how to care for them. Why not consult the lowly garfener who is more qualified?

Frank said...

Cik Gu

Agreed with you 500%.

There must be a point which we have to make a stand on how to get our students excel in the English language.

If making English compulsory is not the answer, what is?

We all must bite the bullet at one point in time.

The best solution is the old dual education system, introduced by the Brits.

A fully English medium school and a Malay/Chinese/Indian medium schools.

Each medium can decide how much importance they want to give to English.

However, Bahasa is a must with minimum a credit to pas the SPM for all medium schools.

Parents have a choice where they want to send their children.

At the moment, the politicians ( the same ones who sent their own children to international schools and overseas) are deciding the education and future of our children. Time to let the parents to decide.

Today, our education system despite having all in Bahasa has failed to unite Malaysians. Polarisation is worse today than in your time and my time.

By then, we will know where the majority would want their children to be.

Today education is used as a political tool by both sides. The fate and future of our younger generation is only an aftethought.

This " bangsa dan negara" thing is just a rhetoric to win votes. It is all BULL... when it comes to bread and butter issues.

Frank said...

Cik Gu
Here is an interesting comment from a blogger after quoting Dr M's comment about compulsory English for SPM

http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.com/2009/06/dr-m-malays-and-malaysians-will-be.html

Please note that the folks who are making the loudest noises against the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English are the same folks who are connected or tied to the book publishers who tend to gain millions of Ringgit from publishing school text books if Science and Mathematics are switched back to the vernacular.

The dewan bahasa folks are well connected to the school text book publishing mafia which basically hijacks the direction of the school syllabi in this country.

Have you wondered why your children’s school text books keep changing so often? New books mean new printing contracts. More money to be made by someone.

Then to decipher the correct ‘approach’ for the new textbooks, the school teachers need to be sent to attend ‘kursus pengenalan kaedah pengajaran baru’ too. That is even more money to be gouged from the Ministry of Education because the same guys who are behind the new text books may also conduct the ‘kursus’ for the school teachers.

And Chinese schools have their own mafia, starting with the school headmasters (or principals?) who have significant say in the choice of text books to be used in their schools. Again big money is involved. There was some scandal about this in the papers a few years ago.

Its all money folks, and also politics. These so called ‘champions of their mother tongues’ all have a larger vested interest.

It does not matter whether it is English, Japanese or Norwegian but we need a language that can fast track our people into the modern, scientific and technical future. Sorry folks but our beloved national language, bahasa Melayu, has not yet come of age to play this role effectively.

Anyone who disputes this does have the moral right to defend their position. They may have the higher moral ground too. It is a terrible thing to say that our national language is not the language of progress. But let the bare truth and the bare facts speak for themselves : we cannot play “trying to catch up” for ever. It is just not happening.

Malay as a language of rapid scientific and technical advancement is just not here yet. Please do not quote Indonesia as an example. Indonesia is another failed state. In our country an Indonesian woman is more likely to be called a maid. An Indonesian male is more likely to be called a labourer. Indonesia is just not a good example.

We already have a good English infrastructure in this country. We are extremely fortunate in this regard. In the 70s, French was still considered a major competitor to English, especially in Africa and the Middle East. But the advent of the Internet has once again established English as the world’s premier language of business, trade, industry, science and the arts. And the usage of English is now leaping ahead by leaps and bounds.

We must strengthen the use of bahasa Melayu through our education system but the language of technical subjects like Science and Mathematics plus all subjects that require logic and incorporate ever changing new knowledge like accounting, law and economics should also be taught in English.

There are just not enough words, concepts and usage of bahasa Melayu to be the vehicle to impart new knowledge in too many areas of modern human endeavour. It will happen ultimately at its own pace but let us fast track our journey up the learning curve.

This is not the time to experiment, to main-main or to sacrifice our future to fish for votes or make money from book publishing contracts. Lets be serious.

Hiriyati said...

I'm an English teacher too. I totally agree with you. Every year I'll be amazed at how my students who failed in their school exams could get passes, even 'C's in their PMR or SPM. Truly amazing!

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

I'm so glad this came from you. Were it from someone who is not a teacher, many would argue otherwise; this is especially so for some parents who only look at their kids' achievement without looking at the bigger picture.

As for the passing marks being lowered, many still find this hard to accept especially since on half-baked deputy minister denied it quite recently. But if one were to meet the Education Officers and hear it from the horse mouth themselves, it only proves how low our education level has gone to. I'm sure you remember during your MCE time, the marks needed to achieve A1 was 98, and A2 was 95. Now, a distinction can be achieved with marks as low as 70. My front neighbour's daughter did her parents proud with 4 distinctions!

As for the reference books in Malay, well, admittedly there are not many. But, only because the gomen never seriously looked into it as did with the Indonesian. Instead of using a small amount of Petronas profit for purposes such as translation, they use it for non-beneficial projects. Early '90s saw the Pusat Bahasa of DBP privatised, and many enrolled for the course to be translators. Where are they now? Quite a number offering their services to TV studios with nowhere else to go. In fact, that is the whole problem with the gomen - directionless!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Frank,
Are they serious about it? No, their only consideration is money. If you aspire to write a textbook, you may be allowed to but with the condition that there would be another name. Yes, someone connected to those bastard. His/her input I assure you would be very minimal if at all any.
I have spoken to many English language teachers and none use the present BI textbook. Why? It is just plain lousy.
Yes, mr. Minister sir, we don't teach grammar in schools because the syllabus stated that grammar is to be acquired incidentally. Fuck shit man.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Hiriyati,
Glad to hear from another teacher. Do they consult us? No, they'd rather consult their gardeners.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Shah,
My minor is translation. Did they take our particulars after graduation? Yes, you guessed right, No.
After graduation, I did do 1 translation work. I helped checked a piece done by a masters students.
Yes, that student is young and yes, it was full off errors so much so that the lecturer needed someone to go over it. Yes, it was hard hard because the person screwed up. Why is that so? His/her master of the main language is not up to mark and to think that these people are doing masters in translation.

doshimaitri said...

Yes, english should not be compulsery subject but it should be treated as secondary language.

In India people prefer to learn english as primary language. But it harms development of students.

english immersion killing local languages.

fahmi said...

salam cikgu, hmm.. poor our teacher for the overloaded stuffs to do, and poor our deteriorating level of English usage by our students... hope that they plan properly...

samson said...

My mother in her 70s can grammatically string better English than half our so called college lecturers and she is not even Malaysian but Thai!

Most schools in Thailand have higher passing marks in English than our present local schools and their syllabus are taken from US schools. Whereas we are so concerned about passing marks that we ignore English and churn out robots with 15As and higher who would fail their entrance exams in foreign universities.

I have Chinese and BM educated local grads who speak worse English than a roadside coolie and I wonder how they managed to pass. Money talks?

Yes, we need to revamp our education syllabus but how are we going to find dedicated Cikgus like yourself and many more from the previous generations as most new teachers comprise of people who cannot find any other vocation except teaching. Those who do, end up in prvate colleges which pay more. Its no longer an honoured calling to these people.

Hope you will not feel offended :)

Kata Tak Nak said...

Samson,
Right now because of the bad economy, people are rushing to apply to be teachers. Wait till the economy gets better and factories begin to spring up again, then there will be no takers for the job of teachers.

Kata Tak Nak said...

doshimaitri,
I believe that before everything is put up to facilitate the teaching of English, it should not be made a compulsory pass.

Kata Tak Nak said...

fahmi,
Yes, thats the magic word 'PLAN'

Anonymous said...

Is our Education Minister a qualified person to sit at the position? i doubt. When the person is not the right one, how can we expect constructive planning from him? Now this question is opened to public, we could even call to tell our opinion?!! that's really nonsence. Would rakyat's voice be heard? have never seen that happened!!
This is just like we hire the tea lady to become a Training Manager in a company because she is the mistress of the GM!! regardless of her background!!
So back to the root cause of this problem. not that "english, a must pass?" but the DPM, is he the right person to head Ministry of Education?
I'd expect more monkey shows coming soon. we wait and see!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Anonymous,
There is a dark shadow behind the Minister. he is the puppet master. He is pulling the strings. I still believe this idea was conceived as a tool to perpetuate PPSMI.

CL said...

thanks Kata Tak Nak for opening my eyes...
all these while i try to build an ignorance to all the political and government issues... i never realized that this english issue could create such a great impact... but anyway i think this compulsory thing can also be a positive force that can push those lazy bumps to improve their english... :)

Kata Tak Nak said...

CL,
I agree, but we must be prepared for it otherwise they will bring down the passing mark and make a mockery of the whole thing. We will be back to square one.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Pak Idrus' status update piqued my curiosity enough to send me scuttling over.

I beg to differ with Man Letih. "Yang pandai berbahasa English / Mandarin / Tamil tu pun tak kemana juga. Duduk kerja meroyan di Malaysia juga." Wow, that's a really narrow view to take, isn't it? So should we conclude that we shouldn't attempt to excel at anything because it is all a lost cause? There is a possibility, mind you, that those of us who excel in other languages "duduk kerja meroyan di Malaysia" because we are patriots and want to serve our country. I have turned down various opportunities to work abroad because I want to be part of Malaysia's nation-building process.

There is much merit, however, in the views expressed both in this blogpost and the opinions left by all your kind commenters.

I, for one, read Law because my application to do TESL was rejected despite my having obtained an A1 in SPM and 1119 English and a distinction in SPM BM and Malay Literature. The running joke was that it was because I had the wrong middle name, i.e. that if my 'middle name' were "Binti", I would have been offered a place. And so I have made law my calling, and while I spend many weekends conducting environmental education and basic English programmes for underprivileged youngsters, I cannot but feel contempt for those entrusted with the noble duty of teaching English in government schools. It is, as Anonymous at 9.43 puts it, very much a case of dressing tea ladies up as Training Managers. I believe I am under no obligation to acknowledge them as Training Managers.

Best regards,
CO78

Kata Tak Nak said...

CO,
That is why I have said so many times, we have to be prepared to make English a compulsory saubject and to begin with we must review the whole syllabus.
No point doing it now when the people who are not supposed to pass still pass because the ministry wants to show that they are successful. They have done it with PPSMI and will do it again with this.
As for your middle name, yes, I agree. This has got to change. My philosophy is life is simple. If you want to help someone, go ahead but do not do it at the expense of others.
In school, if I believe a Chinese is good enough to be made the Head Prefect then I will and have fought for it. I don't care so much for this race thing. They may want to call me a murtad Malay, that is their business, and neither do I want to be called a progressive Malay.
These are all labels just like our gov's slogans.
Is it too much to ask when I say, lets plan carefully? Even the past Education Minister Musa, the educationist (I may not like him)have said that, we could only do it when we are ready. Why don't the others say the bsame? Because they aren't educationist.
These people should have the bloody courtesy to atleast consult teachers otherwise it will truly be a case of tea ladies dressing up as Training Managers.

Singam said...

I'd like to share with you my response to Pak Idrus on Facebook...

Whatever solution we adopt, the baseline problem is the lack of capable English teachers. A previous Education minister got the hare-brained idea of importing teachers from England. Of course, big bucks, big commission... so typical.

If the Bumi quota in the teaching profession is ignored and all capable English-speaking Malaysians (of any age and ethnic descent) are roped in to conduct crash courses in the language, we can begin to attack the problem. But does UMNO have the will to do this?

The next problem is the reluctance of some Malays to even try to improve the level of their English. This was in fact one of the causes of the failure of the ETeMS and EMS programs - teachers did not follow through on mentor programs nor make sufficient effort to improve the level of their English. Lack of time is indeed a problem, but lack of will was the bigger problem.

If SRK(I) is brought back, UMNO leaders will lose many votes. And that will still not help rural Malays in any way. Many have suggested that reintroduction of English Literature is the key. But I see no reason to drop Maths & Science in English.

The teacher training programs are already available and we only need the school heads to demand that teachers put in the required effort to improve. We also need the Malay people to accept the idea that English is important and that Malay will not become sidelined. Otherwise, no scheme will work. This message has to reach the grassroots and rabble-rousers persuaded to stop interrupting the program.

The problem can be solved but it won't be easy. There are some really tough challenges to be faced, the biggest being socio-political.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Singam,
Nice to hear your views.As for teachers not having the will to pick ujp the language, its easier said than done.
Many when they first became teachers never even dreamt that they would one day be asked to teach in a language they are completely uncomfortable with.
If the people in the ministry wanted to still do it, they could at least have started with only standard one and in the mean time train the secdondary school teachers. Wouldn't 6 years of training be enough?
No they rammed it in people's throat and make it compulsory for students in form 1 to follow. What happens?
I have spoken to people in the JPN who came to study the programme and they truthflly believed it was a waste of time.
Their reports to the people at the Kementerian were manipulated to show success when in actual fact it was and still is a disaster.
Now what happens? Pupils can answer in Malay and the Ministry gave out strange figures purposting that many answered in English.
I am not against the whole idea. Nothing must stop progress but somethings could.
If unwillingness bamongst the people is one then stupidity in rushing this matter is another.
Lets be prepared first otherwise, knowing the ministry, I know they will manipulate things to show that their programme bis a success while it is not and we are back to square one.
UMNO will not, being the racists that they are, be willing to break the quota which will make things all the more difficult.
There are many good English speaking people out there but they would rather be something else but teachers.
If you have to pay attractive enough allowances to this people and they are mainly non Malays UMNO will see it as suicide. See where we stand?

Singam said...

Dear Kata Tak Nak,

I fully agree with you - ramming the ETeMS program down people's throats and then presenting false statistics to claim success was self-defeating. Actually most of the "admin work" foisted upon teachers is for the purpose of gathering meaningless statistics to make some person or other at the Jabatan look good.

But dismantling the ETeMS program will cause a new problem to emerge - teachers of Science & Maths (as well as English teachers) now get a special incentive allowance (which caused a whole bunch of previously disinterested teachers to apply to teach these subjects). If the program is stopped, will the allowances be stopped as well? In which case, will the allowances for teaching English also be stopped? Otherwise, that will become another sensitive issue.

And if the allowances are stopped, that will cause yet another furore. Teachers with the right connections will then wriggle their way out of teaching these subjects, including some who received special training. The hapless will be loaded, whether or not they are capable.

Heads or tails, we lose. Sigh!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Singam,
They will stop the allowance alright. Whether PPSMI is still on or not the allowance would be taken away because the BM teachers are not very happy and rightly so. BM is a must pass and their teachers don't get allowance while English is not and they get allowances.
Yes, a real big mess can be forseen.
I really think this business of making English compulsory would be used as a tool to perpetuate PPSMI and yet not get vthe Malays uptight, sort of win-win. Thats how their politics work.

ahoo said...

Yes SIR, politicians are people who sometimes very emotional. They like to talk and talk but not walk the talk. How on earth are we going to get students to pass English if it is make compulsory ?

Please lah, if anything has to be done, at least do some planning. Get those in standard one to start learning English the way it should be taught not the communicative type. They are indeed so much damaged done to our education system that we are now reaping what we sowed.

For your info, my year was the last of the GCE and goodness, I was very poor in Bahasa Malaysia. Of course I failed that subject and the next year they started SPM with almost all subjects in Bahasa Malaysia.

What to do Chegu ! One subject also cannot handle how to master more subjects in Bahasa Malaysia. Give up lah and ended up joining school and learned to use brain and hand together. Well, that was 1976 and yeah, the English then was much more " powderful " said newbies today.

We sincerely need to start from the basic if the minister of education wants to see changes for the benefit of all. No point just talking about it. Arrest the issue at hand and look at the root problems. It may take another generation of at least 15-20 year of proper teaching in English to regain our former glory.

I will close with a real story. My daughter when she was in standrd three, came home crying one day. We asked her what happen ? She relates that her school " english teacher " scolded her. I asked why and did you misbehave. She was scolded for correcting the teacher's thrice for speaking and teaching wrongly on past and present tense !!! First two time she was politely told, thank you and please sit down but on the third time, she was told " shut up and sit down ".

Well, we always taught her that she need to speak and write correctly and if unsure, please ask the teacher. But here is one situation whereby a standard three student knows her english well enough to correct her teacher, no wonder her teacher was frustrated and shouted for her to shut-up and sit down. God saves us and let us pray for wisdom from God that the minister of education knows what he is talking and what he needs to do.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Ahoo,
Very interesting the story about your daughter. I am surprised but not shocked.

Marniyati said...

Analisis dan pandangan yang sangat bernas dan menarik. Saya ingin memohon bagi menyalin dan meletakkan pandangan tuan ini di blog saya. Saya akan sertakan sekali sumber dan pautan ke blog tuan ini nanti.

Terima kasih sekalung budi.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Marni,
Ambil la, saya tak pernah halang siapa pun daripada mengambil postings saya tapi saya mintak jangan panggil saya tuan. Panggil tokwan ka, pakcik ka, saudara ka tapi jangan panggil tuan, saya geli.

Marniyati said...

Ribuan terima kasih atas keizinan yang diberikan. Ribuan kemaafan andai saya telah menyinggung perasaan.

Pesan guru saya (Prof. Abdullah Hassan), gunalah kata panggilan kehormat bagi menghormati orang lain. Kata panggilan kekeluargaan seperti 'pakcik', 'abang', 'tokwan' dan sebagainya bukanlah kata panggilan hormat. Kata panggilan 'tuan' adalah kata panggilan paling hormat untuk orang yang tidak kita kenali.

Pesan guru saya lagi, kata panggilan kekeluargaan memang boleh menampakkan kemesraan tetapi kita hanya boleh bermesra sesama ahli keluarga sahaja. Itulah adab dan budaya berbahasa orang Melayu yang sebenarnya.

Justeru, saya hanya mematuhi ajaran guru saya dengan memanfaatkan ilmu ajarannya. Mohon maaf sekali lagi ya.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Marniyati,
Maaf saya juga kepada Marni. macam ni la, panggil saja cikgu. Saya selesa panggilan tu tapi 'tuan' tu saya tak berapa selesa tapi kalau rasa nak panggil jugak, saya tak halang, after all ia hanya satu panggilan.
Marni ni cikgu jugak ka, atau sedang belajar nak jadi cikgu?

Marniyati said...

Terima kasih, cikgu. Saya juga adalah seorang guru dalam bidang bahasa dan komunikasi.

Sekarang saya sedang bercuti kerana sedang melanjutkan pengajian, masih berusaha menjadi seorang ilmuan dan seorang guru yang lebih baik untuk anak-anak di Malaysia.

Apa pun, terima kasih sekali lagi. Semoga perjuangan kita dalam memartabatkan dunia pendidikan akan dipermudah dan diberkati.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a very nicely thought out process. You gave me a very fresh perspective on abolishing PPSMI. Nicely done. Thank you!

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