Thursday, June 11, 2009

The English language

When I was young, my mum used to speak to us in English and insisted that we do not add in the "lah" when we speak.

When I was in primary school, our teachers spoke English to us and it was spoken very well too.

When I was in secondary school, I had my first taste of school mates not being able to converse in English. I also had teachers who could not speak the language well.

When I was in university, I was horrified to learn that some of my fellow uni mates could not speak this language well, let alone write it. Forget about conversing, some could not even understand some basic words I use.

At work, thankfully, most could speak this well. Although I did come across candidates at interview sessions who could not understand our line of questioning.

And then, I read our DPM has this to say in The Star, should I laugh or should I exclaim in horror?
"... surprised to learn that English is not a “must pass” subject for SPM and wants public feedback on the matter."
" was a revelation to him as he had always thought that it was a prerequisite since students had to learn English in school."
"... shocked to learn that national schools no longer taught English grammar."

And apparently, 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. And one wonders why we have people who cannot speak nor write the language well.

To top off the whole fiasco, he has this to say "...he wondered if rural students would be at the losing end if a pass in English was required in SPM."



Kiasu Mom said...

Haiz.. thanks to our lousy education system that some of us didn't have good command of English. My English was really bad back in school and still pretty bad now but at least I improved, on my own!

I don't remember my teacher teaching any grammar and I still have friends who until today couldn't speak reasonably good English. Sad eh...

Busy Bee said...

Yeah, can you imagine what our kids will go through??

I am not even sure if the teachers themselves can speak proper English!!

Kiasu Mom said...

As parents, all we can do to help is try to cultivate reading habit and try and speak to them in English as much as we could. I believe it would help them a lot in picking up in school.

When I was younger, my parents didn't have time to teach and we spoke mainly in cantonese. So learning English in school from crappy teachers made it very hard.

mcheo said...

nice article ...

What is our English standard in this country? Wait till you read this article.

Penny said...

I now have more than half the mind to send Ryan to a private school next time although it's really expensive and I'm not sure I can really afford it. It's scary to see what is happening in schools and how even a simple thing like a language class can be driven by political motives!