Many object to making English a ‘must pass’ SPM subject

(The Star) PETALING JAYA: Most of the 500 views received by the Education Ministry as at the end of office hours yesterday are against any move to make English compulsory in order to obtain the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate.

A ministry official said those who contacted the ministry wanted the status quo to remain.

“We started receiving telephone calls from 10am until 5.30pm yesterday,” she said.

From today, she said people could telephone the ministry’s hunting line at 03-7723-7070 with their views from 8am to 5.30pm.

“There are 27 lines and we have enough people manning them,” she said.

People can also e-mail their views to [email protected] or send a fax to 03-7710-8880.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said he was surprised to learn that English was not a “must pass” subject for SPM and wanted public feedback on the matter.

The Education Minister said it was a revelation to him as he had always thought that it was a prerequisite since students had to learn English in school.

He said he was also shocked to learn that national schools no longer taught English grammar.

Muhyiddin said students were now merely learning communicative English.

“This means they are picking up the language for communication purposes only,” he said, adding that almost 70% of students who take English passed the subject.

A pass in English has never been compulsory for SPM. Since 2000, a pass in

Bahasa Malaysia was sufficient to get the SPM certificate. Previously, a credit was a must.