Question marks over education blueprint
SHAH ALAM: The final version of the National Education Blueprint (2013-2025) is out – and it immediately raised some disturbing questions.
Why do English teachers only have to get a “mere pass” in the subject to qualify them to teach it?
Shouldn’t those entrusted with teaching the subject have a higher grade in the language to be able to teach the subject proficiently?
Especially so when only 30 per cent of English teachers managed to score a “C” (competent) in the internationally recognised Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) when they sat the examination.
How is this then supposed to raise the standard of English in the country?
These are the questions posed by Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE) secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra (pix, below) on the blueprint by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Sept 6.
One of the items in the blueprint states that the Education Ministry will ensure that the entry bar for teachers is raised to be among the top 30 per cent of graduates.
“We are happy about raising the entry levels for teachers but what about the level of English? The passing level for English is still a pass.
“It should at least be a high credit,” said Tunku Munawirah.
Also included in the blueprint is to ensure English is made a compulsory subject to pass for SPM from 2016.
“Are the teachers prepared for this? When the teachers did the CPT, 70 per cent did not make it. Can the teachers cope with this?” asked Tunku Munawirah.
The preliminary report of the blueprint was launched in September last year by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak .
The blueprint will be implemented in three stages from this year to 2025 and aims to produce students with attributes such as bilingual proficiency and thinking skills.
It proposes 11 strategic and operational shifts to achieve that vision.
When launching the final version of the blueprint, Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said that there will be more time allocated for the English subject in schools to increase students' proficiency in the language.
He said this was in preparation for English to be a must-pass subject from 2016, adding that the ministry was also looking into extending school hours to achieve this.
But Tunku Munawirah said that instead of extending the hours, why could not the other subjects be taught in English.
The blueprint also touches on unity where it aspires to create a system whereby students have opportunities to build shared experiences and aspirations that form the foundation for unity.
For Tunku Munawirah, unity will only happen when there are more bilingual options offered in national schools and the quality of overall education is raised.