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You no understand my English? Blame the stupid education system in Malaysia, not me.


DPM: English not a ‘must pass’ for SPM?

By KAREN CHAPMAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is surprised to learn that English is not a “must pass” subject for SPM and wants 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 was also shocked to learn that national schools no longer taught English grammar.

“I don’t know how you can learn English without knowing grammar,” he told newsmen after launching the Kirkby College alumni association.

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 pass the subject.

The minister said he would seek public view on the matter.

“We may deliberate on it at the ministry level but as Education Minister, I want to give the public a chance to share their views,” he said.

(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.)

Muhyiddin said he wondered if rural students would be at the losing end if a pass in English was required in SPM.

He also said he did not know if not having to pass English meant the standard of the language had gone down.

When announcing the SPM results in March, Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said 89% of 178,751 candidates had opted to answer the Additional Mathematics Paper 1 fully in English.

Other subjects which students preferred to answer fully in English included Additional Mathematics Paper 2 at 86%, Biology Paper 3 (81.5%) and Chemistry Paper 3 (76.8%).

A retired lecturer and teacher trainer said the teaching of grammar was integrated into four main language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing in English lessons for students.

Check out the bolded parts, tell me if it is funny or downright pathetic? No, I am not refering to Pak Muhyiddin being surprised or in the dark over the SPM requirements for English or the teaching method. It is kinda funny yes, that he didn’t aware of things happening right under his portfolio, but he’s new to the ministry so I shall give him the benefit of doubt.

Nevermind, he was surprised over many things and I have no problem with that for the reason I mentioned above, but I shitted in my pant reading this part:

“He also said he did not know if not having to pass English meant the standard of the language had gone down.”

Of course lah, you moron! Being not required to pass English, it means students can either work less harder or totally forget about the subject and tell me if that does not contribute to the falling standard of the language?

Oh shit, we have an idiot as our Education Minister! But, hey nothing to worry as it is a norm in Malaysia to have idiots holding important positions. It is not that the previous Education Minister was not an idiot anyway. Nothing new. Life goes on. It is not even funny anymore to make joke about them.

Now what I think is funny is how our education system has consistently being reduced to a worthless paper certificate churning factory with its lowering standards.

1. English is not a must pass subject

Yes, it A pass in English has never been compulsory for SPM but it would be good for it to be implemented. To get a pass in a subject for SPM, I believe you should get marks of 30 and above. If I remember correctly, back in my days the grading system was something like this:

A1= 85 and above; A2= 70- 84; C3= 60-69; C4=50-59; C5=45-49; C6=40-44; P7= 35-39; P8=30-34; F9= 29 and below.

To get 30 out of 100, I don’t think it is really a feat to achieve.

Muhyiddin said he wondered if rural students would be at the losing end if a pass in English was required in SPM.

So? What is your point? We shall let them pass when actually they would fail under harder requirements? And that is supposed to be good for who? The students? The ministry? The country? What good it is to have a pass on paper, when in reality, they would fail?

This is what I say, a doing of a stupid leader. You should find ways to help them pass. But definitely not by making it easier or lowering the standard to let them pass.

Mahathir came from kampung. Zaid Ibrahim came from kampung. Lat was a kampung boy. Many successful people also came from kampung. How the hell they can speak good English now?

2. Communicative English, forget the grammar

I don’t really see how a person is going to learn about a language without learning its grammar. Do you it is okay to have students putting up sentences like “I are happy today because yesterday my boyfriend buy me 4 plate of mee goreng?” I don’t really know how they teach ‘communicative’ English, Cibol did mention to me something about as long as the student can string up a sentence and the ‘meaning’ is there then it is okay. Full mark. Oh, Cibol did a stint as a teacher last time in Bintulu and he was shocked when he told me that. I was like “Huh? How to learn English properly without learning the grammar?”

Does it mean students nowadays can forget about learning English chapters for present tense, past tense and all the tenses? How about the verbs? How can you teach something half-baked and not in its pure, original sense? If in English we have tenses, verbs and in Bahasa Melayu we have tatabahasa. How about learning Malay language that way too, say for example simply use the imbuhan awalan – ‘me, men, mem meng, ter, peng, per‘ in front of words like mengkerja, termati, pengrogol, memnyanyi? Can?

I suspect it is for grading purpose, to make more students pass the subject. But, why? Who came up with the idea to teach English this way must be hang, shot, hang, burned and shot again.

Well, I posted the above news at my Facebook Notes, and received a comment from a teacher friend: 

‘English teacherss are still teaching the subject properly in school. The different is, they emphasize more on speaking skill as they try not to be too exam-oriented.”

But, to speak the language you must at least master the grammar and everything first so you don’t sound funny when you communicate no? Whether the emphasize is on the ’speaking/verbal communication’ or ‘exam/written communication’, that is besides the point.

Just for a moment you thought that there are many wise Malaysians out there with thinking hat and would support if the move to make English a ‘must pass’ SPM subject, but no. It is not an official poll or survey and definitely not a right way to gauge public opinions on this issue but if this piece of news is to be trusted, I rest my case and weep for this lovely country.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009 09:29

(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 kpkpm@moe.gov.my This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it 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.

Read the bolded sentences at the last paragraph and tell me if that sounds right to you? I really don’t understand why the fuck, pardon me there – we are making it easier for students to get their education ‘certificate’ when in reality, the outside world is getting tougher for them to compete and live.

So it is no wonder that we have more students getting As and the statistics showing better results every year compared to the previous years. That probably explains why are there more complaints by employers about their new, fresh employees being clueless at their jobs, despite the statistics and results showing otherwise. Mystery solved.

If this is not going backwards, then I must be walking backwards all this while when I thought I was moving forward, because obviously my forward and backward definition are all messed up.  Don’t geddit? Never mind.

If the Education Ministry is serious about this issue, it should make a proper referendum. Vijay Murugavell has this to say on the method of getting public feedback by the Ministry.

I totally disagree with above method of getting public feedback on a matter of utmost importance to the Malaysia’s future.

Where is the transparency in 27 hotlines and email feedback ?

No matter what the result it will be disputed. Why not conduct a more encompassing national referendum ?

In countries in which a referendum must be initiated by parliament it is sometimes mandatory to hold a binding referendum on certain proposals, such as constitutional amendments. In countries, such as the United Kingdom, in which referendums are neither mandatory nor binding there may, nonetheless, exist an unwritten convention that certain important constitutional changes will be put to a referendum and that the result will be respected.

By nature of their effects, referendums may be either binding or non-binding. A non-binding referendum is merely consultative or advisory. It is left to the government or legislature to interpret the results of a non-binding referendum and it may even choose to ignore them.

In our case however , I plead that it be a binding referendum, because I have more faith in the collective wisdom of my fellow citizens than the government of the day.

Vijay Kumar Murugavell

I couldn’t agree more.

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2 Responses to “You no understand my English? Blame the stupid education system in Malaysia, not me.”

  1. clement wrote on Jun 17, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    interesting observation…. to make things more exciting we should consider if the questions for exam does prove his mastery of the language…

    [Reply]

  2. bongkersz wrote on Jun 18, 2009 at 8:22 am

    of course not, but the simplest and easiest way to gauge the comprehension is through exams..

    [Reply]

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