Our students score As in English at PMR or SPM levels but when it comes to college entrance examinations for UK and US, many of them fare badly.
…But there is a nagging feeling that the standards have dropped. Parents and students get a sense of unrealistic expectations when they get these result slips with straight distinctions.
Students who have slogged hard, particularly with moral support from their parents, deserve the results they get, no doubt, but they should also be a little guarded.
…At job interviews, employers are shocked to find that these A scorers can’t even string a sentence in English correctly and many cannot communicate in the language well.
Parents who have the means to send their children to international or private schools after PMR have found their children being rejected by these schools because tutors found these A scorers not as proficient in the language as their test results suggest.
Many also take a highly sceptical view of the Mathematics and Additional Mathematics results at SPM level because the perception is grading has been lowered.
In short, it is easy to score distinctions because the bell curve is adjusted to reduce the number of failures.
The point is this – we have compromised the quality of our education. We have refused to admit it, preferring to live with the delusion that all is well. Worse, our politicians get carried away sometimes with their rhetoric of “world class education” when they should worry more about the basics of the education system.
…There are now over 60,000 unemployed graduates simply because they are not marketable or they are ill prepared for the job market because of poor linguistic and social skills.
Many are unable to express themselves because of poor communication skills, thus limiting their job options.
We know that the level of English among our students are at ICU level, to borrow a hospital term, but we are unlikely to do anything because we lack the political will to face the narrow-minded nationalists, many of whom benefited from the English medium schools of yesteryear or they just lack proficiency in English themselves.
To cover up their inadequacies, they use race and nationalism to stop the advance of English, not realising that those who suffer the most would be the young Malaysians, regardless of their race.
The rich would not be affected because they would be sending their kids overseas but the rest would have to cope with the system.
This is the reality – in 2006, the number of college students who spoke and could write English in India was reportedly 100% while in 10 years, it has been estimated that China would have the largest number of English speakers. As they say, who would have expected this 60 years ago?
English is the language of commerce and science and now, the Internet. Don’t let the slide continue; our children deserve better.