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KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Education Ministry will benchmark the English language proficiency of Malaysian students and that of certain teachers eligible to each the subject against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
In a statement today, the ministry said the CEFR is among several initiatives under the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 undertaken to raise the standards of English in the country.
“Based on a baseline study in 2013, the benchmark set for English language option teachers was the minimum level of CEFR 1,” it said.
English language option teachers are teachers who are registered to teach English as their first or second option.
The ministry added that in order to help the option teachers to reach the level of CEFR 1, several initiatives were taken such as face to face training, online training and support from main English language coaches.
“The teachers received training and support from the main English teacher coaches on the method and practice of teaching.”
The ministry said the Professional Upskilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) has also been implemented to improve the level of English language proficiency and teaching skills of Malaysian primary and secondary school option teachers.
“So far 67 per cent of teachers who had set for the exams are at CEFR level 1 and CEFR level 2, this shows that the implementation of Pro-Elt has been positive.
“At the same time the implementation of Add Option Intervention Programme (Pito), had also helped the option teachers to improve their pedagogical skills,” it said.
Meanwhile, the ministry once again defended its decision to have all English language teachers sit for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).
“MUET was chosen because it is based on CEFR, and is held three times a year and is cheaper compared to other examinations.
On the issue of English teacher shortage, the ministry said it has taken several long-term and short -term solution.
“The ministry has offered new appointments for English option teachers who have retired early.
“We are also speeding up the process in recruiting new ones and are in the midst of placing 500 interim teachers at primary and secondary school and are also making them English option teachers,” it said.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession had previously urged the Education Ministry to reconsider its directive for English language teachers to sit for the MUET by year-end.
The directive was issued in a circular dated April 14 by Education director-general Datuk Amin Senin.