No pass in English, no SPM certificate. Hooray!
Finally we have an education minister that is thinking along the same line as most supporters of English language in this country. Make English a subject that has to be passed and you will see that every student and parent will sit up and pay more attention to this subject.
Teachers of English would also be more responsible when they know that a child’s future is in their hands. No pass in English, no SPM certificate. Hooray!
On the issue of grammar not being taught in schools, I would like to differ here with our minister. Grammar can be taught via Communicative English but the unfortunate thing is, the teachers entrusted to teach Communicative English have completely ignored the teaching of English grammar because they are themselves weak in it.
To make matters worse, they do not use grammatically correct sentence structures when they teach and therefore, the children pick up sentences with grammatical mistakes and use them as if is the correct way to express themselves.
How often do I hear working people who have good command of the English language (vocabulary and facts) make simple grammatical errors like: ‘He don’t want to go’ or ‘You has to go’. This is shocking!
If our minister wants grammar to be taught separately, I think this would be a backward step in the teaching of the language as the most modern approach to the teaching of English language has grammar incorporated into the various elements of reading, listening, speaking and writing.
To help our teachers and students get back on track, maybe the textbooks could incorporate a section devoted to basic grammar for each lesson, thereby covering all aspects of grammar within the first six years of primary English lessons. Most text books do have this but I think the stress should be on primary schools rather than on the secondary schools.
At secondary schools, more difficult aspects of grammar should be taught with all the exceptions that are so commonly found in English. Please do not go back to the days when I learned English from a book by Wren and Martin (published in India, by the way) where I had to learn things like adverbial clauses, conditionals, subordinate clauses etc.
Such aspects are for those who want to specialise in teaching English to undergraduates or for those who want to master English completely to be competent teachers of the English Language, – not for students taking English language as a second language.
I am sure the officials in the English Department of the ministry of education can identify the basic areas that all primary school children should know in English Grammar and ensure that all primary teachers are familiar with them and that all primary English Language textbooks highlight them all the time all the six years.
So I look forward to a future where Malaysians will speak better English, write better English and therefore be better international business, academic and scientific people.