Group: Malaysia needs English-medium alternative to national schools

The G25 NGO said English-medium schools could give Malaysia the edge needed to propel the country forward in global trade. — File picture by Saw Siow Feng
The G25 NGO said English-medium schools could give Malaysia the edge needed to propel the country forward in global trade. — File picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — National schools teaching in English could give Malaysia the edge needed to propel the country forward in global trade, said the G25 pro-moderation group.

Joining the call for English-medium schools to return to Malaysia, the group also said English proficiency has become a necessity in today’s age of rapid technological progress and digitisation, and that both areas were vital for the country’s economic progress.

“Malaysia is a trading nation, having a workforce with a high proficiency in English is a sure way to increase our global competitiveness, and to enable us to take advantage of the global economy and bring foreign investments into the country.

“To push for the country’s economic growth, Malaysia needs to reclaim and re-establish itself as a bilingual country with Bahasa Melayu as the national language and English as a strong second language, as it was meant to be,” it said.

The group stressed, however, that the government must ensure that it has the right personnel in place before making such a move.

Recommending reforms to the way teachers are currently trained, it used Finland as an example of what was achievable when only the very best candidates are selected to be educators.

“We need to learn from past mistakes, and ensure that the implementation of the English medium schools follow a model with a proven track record,” said the group.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said this week that Putrajaya was open to restoring English-medium schools, but needed public support to do so.

English-medium schools were phased out in favour of those teaching in Bahasa Malaysia in the 1970, as part of the government’s efforts to promote the national language.

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