EXCELLENCE….Federal Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap (Second left) and Sabah State Education Director Jame Alip (first left) together with school principals awarded with letters of promotion.
By : M. IZHAM B. HASHIM
THERE is a need to go back to basics in teaching English to arrest the declining standard of the language in schools, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap.
Stressing the importance of improving English proficiency, she said going back to fundamentals in the teaching and learning of English is crucial to help students master the language
“It is time to bring back some proven past practices and ensure that activities-based learning reinforces what has been taught. In this way, we will see the fundamental aspects being applied, “ she said.
She maintains that going back to the old ways of teaching English would enhance the reading, speaking and writing skills and this should be implemented from primary to secondary schools.
Formerly a school principal herself, Datuk Mary said the recent unfavorable UPSR results in English proficiency among primary school pupilss underlined the urgency of the situation.
She also expressed her concern about the poor standard of English among English teachers in the country. Alarmingly, Mary disclosed that only 30 percent of teachers who sat for the Cambridge Placement Test (CPL) were found to be competent.
Sabah is trailing behind neighbouring Sarawak in English proficiency, and Datuk Mary urged schools to set up the English Language Teachers Club to ensure the ministry’s vision and policies in raising the standard of English will receive extra focus.
“For this reason, the Ministry of Education has decided to take stringent steps to address the issue and implement drastic measures to overcome the problem,” she said, and pointed out that an interactive approach practiced in the past was highly successful and effective in improving the quality of teaching and learning of English in the classroom.
“Let us make learning English fun and entertaining again by bringing back past practices such as English Day, English Week or even English Month filled with various essay writing, speech, theatre and debate competitions from primary and secondary schools,” she told reporters during the press conference.
With particular reference to Sabah, she said the shortage of proficient English teachers in rural areas is a grave concern, which has prompted her to request for a full report on the situation before bringing it up at the ministerial level.
Earlier during the meeting with state district education officers, Datuk Mary presented letters of promotion to secondary school principals who had been promoted from grade DG52 to DG54.
Also present during the ceremony was Sabah Education Director Jame Alip.(Insight Sabah)