NUTP: Making non-English educators sit for language test won’t help actual teacher shortage

Tan said ELTC and ELSQC should look into solving the main problem, which is the lack of English language teachers in schools. — Picture by KE Ooi
Tan said ELTC and ELSQC should look into solving the main problem, which is the lack of English language teachers in schools. — Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said forcing non-English language teachers to sit for an examination on the language is a bandaid that will not solve the main problem of insufficient specialists.

He told The Star newspaper that these teachers are not trained in the subject and will be forced to teach English due to lack of teachers in schools.

Tan said these teachers would not be able to reach the proficiency levels of an English option teacher.

Tan was commenting on Education director-general Datuk Amin Senin’s directive that even those who are not English option teachers must sit for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) examination.

The decision was made after the Education Ministry engaged with the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) and the English Language Standards and Quality Council (ELSQC) — both of which comes under the ministry.

Tan said ELTC and ELSQC should look into solving the main problem, which is the lack of English language teachers in schools.

“They should be giving support, assistance and training to these teachers. Instead, they are adding to their pressure.

“Some of these English option teachers already have qualifications such as TESL (Teaching English as a Second Lan­guage) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

“They (the centre and council) have not taken these factors into consideration,” he told The Star.

Tan questioned the centre’s direction, saying the NUTP could not see where it was heading other than to “pile on the burden of teachers”.

On April 14, Dr Amin issued a circular stating that English option teachers should have a minimum of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) C1 level qualification.

He said 20,634 teachers had yet to take any tests to determine their level of English proficiency.

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