Reasons of Why Tertiary Level Students Are Not Mastering English.

Topics: Second language, Lingua franca, English language Pages: 9 (3225 words) Published: May 14, 2013
English language has been a very strong influence throughout the world today. A lot of international business and trading rely on the language for susceptible and a good business relationship between companies. Those companies who are able to do business transactions and meetings by using the English language are much more respectable and regarded to. Other countries that use English as their main medium of communicating have been shown to have a greater drive in their economic status. The English language is an important medium of interaction used among people in various field, such as career, academic and business throughout the world. (Jerry Anak Ahen, 2009). Take Singapore as an example. Even though the country consists of different race that speaks different language, they decide to use English as the main medium for communicating and they are now a first world country. Using English as their main language would make conversing between a Chinese and a Malay guy easier, rather than the conventional Malay. Yes, we in Malaysia might think that by using English is disrespectful towards our ancestor’s language, but we cannot have that mindset again in order to be a first world country. I recently went to Singapore and I find it exciting to be able to converse with the Chinese and Indian people who are living there. I could see that there are a lot of benefits in using the English language. Given the current ascendant position of the English language as the language of global academia, science and technology as well as commerce, among other areas of social life, English language studies form a “wide and varied area for investigation and critical reflection” (Allison, 2002, p. ix) Malaysian education system had tried to implement the PPSMI or Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris but the step had proven that our education system and the students are not ready yet to learn and adapt English into their studies. The lack of preparing and educating both teachers and students proves to be a suicide mission for the PPSMI. Most of the students in school have a very low proficiency in English to understand the science and mathematics subjects to be taught in English. Adding on to the problem is that not many teachers that are competent enough in using English language to teach the two subjects. So, at last it was abolished and now it is back to normal. Yesterday the education ministry announced that English will be a compulsory subject that is needed to pass in order for Form 5 students to pass their Sijil Peperiksaan Malaysia or SPM. But that is due in 2016 and I think that it will be too late.

The history of English language in our country would require us to ponder back during the colonization years where the British tried to implement the language in the schools, thus the schools like Victoria Institution was formed. The British colonial education system introduced the teaching of English in Malaysia in the 1960s and it is still entrenched in the current Malaysian educational system (Asmah Haji Omar, 1992). But back then, most of the Malays are skeptical and worry that the language is a bad influence. As stated by Venugopal, the learning of English language in Malaysia began during the colonial times as a tool of socio-economic mobility and education enhancement (Venugopal, 2000). Time has passed and now English is regarded as an important tool for students to apply and get a decent job with a nice pay. Most companies will hire students who are competent and able to communicate using the language. It is an added value towards their college or university degree. But surprisingly our Malaysian students are still lacking in mastering the language thus the unemployment rate is still very high. We have fresh graduates but they are all unemployed just because they could not master the language. According to an article in The Star, “Skills and internal practices of a company can be taught...
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