Better English ‘must start at primary level’

By Veena Babulal, NST

KUALA LUMPUR: English should be made a compulsory subject to pass in all public examinations, said Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Aminah Ayob.

"Efforts to improve English proficiency must start at primary school. If Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah candidates don't pass their English paper, they should be sent to preparatory classes to improve their command of the language, and not be promoted.

"This is much like the remove class system practised earlier for students from Tamil and Chinese national-type schools before they joined Form One in national schools."

She said it would take only a few months to train students who failed their UPSR English paper to a level where they could be promoted to secondary school.

UPSI Faculty of Science and Technology dean Associate Prof Dr Mustaffa Ahmad said the move to use English to teach Mathematics and Science was ill-advised.
He said those without a reasonably strong grounding in English would find it hard to understand simple scientific terms.

He warned against "short notice" implementation of any major change in educational policies.