Maszlee: New English-language teachers hired, current teachers getting trained

Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks during a media interview in Putrajaya April 29, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks during a media interview in Putrajaya April 29, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, April 29 — The Education Ministry is training existing English-language teachers and recruiting new ones to improve proficiency in the lingua franca, Maszlee Malik said today.

“If you want to train and teach our students to have a better proficiency in English we need more teachers.

“Currently we are training our existing teachers and at the same time trying to recruit more teachers as well,” Maszlee told reporters when asked if there was a shortage in the number of English language school teachers.

Maszlee did not acknowledge if there was indeed a shortage but said: “If you want to ensure a better quality of English teaching, we need to have more English teachers and well-trained English teachers.”

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) had earlier this year urged the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to increase the number of English language teachers in schools and warned the government of a severe shortage.

NUTP had said Kelantan alone was short of 500 English teachers, and the number must be increased immediately or the problem would worsen.

NUTP also said the importance of the English language was undeniable with growing globalisation and it was crucial for the government to deal with the shortage and improve the level of English-language proficiency in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Maszlee told reporters during an interview session in conjunction with PH’s celebration of its first year in office that the ministry has been engaging in several initiatives to help ease the burden of teachers.

“Since the start of the year, the ministry has come up with five initiatives and nine interventions to allow teachers to focus on teaching instead of having to deal with other workloads not related to educating.

“Among the initiatives is to increase resources in schools so that the teachers get help with other things that take up their time like paperwork,” he said.

Maszlee said the ministry is looking at revising the number of hours teachers spend in school, Internet connectivity, better information integration system and administrative duties with the objective of assisting the teachers.