Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the move was in line with the implementation of the "Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English" (MBMMBI) policy for Year One primary school pupils starting from next year.
"Although the 'Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English' (PPSMI) has been abolished, the government is undertaking various efforts and and strategies to raise proficiency in English.
"Almost 12,000 teachers teaching English had attended the special training programme held last year, and this year the ministry targets another 10,000 teachers to undergo the same programme," he said in reply to Senator Ng Fook Heng at the Dewan Negara sitting today.
Ng wanted to know the measures to be taken by the government to improve English proficiency of primary and secondary schoool students, considering that PPSMI would be abolished for Year One pupils from next year.
MBMMBI was introduced to replace PPSMI from 2012, after if was found that the policy failed to achieve its objective of raising students' proficiency in English, which have affected their performance in the two subjects, especially among rural students.
Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister, said besides setting up the MBMMBI Implementation Main Committee which was chaired by him, the ministry targeted to hire 600 retired English language teachers on a contract basis from this year until 2013.
He said until March this year, 168 of such teachers had taken up the offer, while the government had also brought in 375 English native speakers from abroad to improve the professionalism of English language lecturers and teachers, with 360 of these experts appointed as mentors for the English...