This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Malay rights group Perkasa has urged the Education Ministry to hire English speaking teachers and provide English reading material at all the public schools by next year. The request was driven by Malaysian government’s decision to make English a compulsory passing subject.
“To ensure Bumiputera students in rural areas are not left behind, the Education Ministry must make sure every rural school has sufficient trained teachers in English, English books and reading materials to help the students. All needs must be met starting 2014 even though it is compulsory only from year 2016,” Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said.
On Friday, Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin declared English as a mandatory passing subject in the national SPM examination. He acknowledged that English is a universal language and the upcoming generations must learn to speak it. He said the academic institutes will now increase the number of lesson hours for English.
On the contrary, the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE) said that making English a mandatory passing subject will have an adverse effect on students studying in the rural areas. The group also showed concern about the latest policy change and alleged that it will only pressurize students to pass the exams instead of actually learning the language.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has doubts about the impacts of this new policy. Ibrahim says making English language course a must-pass will put undue pressure on students who have not been studying English language til now. He said such policy should be introduced only when the government is certain that all the academic institutes are teaching the subject in detail.