MOE should focus on education delivery to improve English standards

Kuala Lumpur, 3 April 2015 – At a students’ conference last week Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan told a conference that Malaysians had better command of the English language than our Singaporean neighbours. The methodology of the survey he quoted has since been questioned, on the grounds that the tests are taken voluntarily and as a result, are not robust enough to be considered representative. He is the not the first in the MOE to be called out on a questionable and generalised statement about the apparent successes of the Malaysian education system.

Senior Researcher at IDEAS, Tamanna Patel is concerned by the Ministry of Education’s use of unreliable indicators and information to make blanket statements that do not reflect the true outcomes of our poorly performing education system.

While it is important to acknowledge successes, it creates mistrust when data is used to mislead an audience. Referring to IDEAS’ education survey of parents from low-income households in 2014, Tamanna said, “69 percent of parents think that their child learns English properly at school which indicates that they place their full trust in schools and the MOE. However, the MOE has in the past admitted that a majority of its English teachers are not proficient in the subject.” She added, “The information gap between parents and the actual state of education widens when careless statements continue to be made by our leaders.”

She concluded by saying, “I urge the MOE to be more responsible and remain focused on its task to improve quality of English teachers and education delivery to ensure that students who are taking their English subject SPM next year are proficient in the language and are able to pass.”


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