The national education policy that neglected the importance of English has led to poor grasp of the language among local graduates, including PhD holders, Sarawak Youth and Sports and Solidarity Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said.
He added that the employment prospects even for many top scorers were affected due to their lack of proficiency in English, the Sunday edition of The Borneo Postreported today.
“There are many who graduated from local universities with first degrees, some with Master’s degrees, some with PhD, but they are not fluent in English.
“They could not converse well in English and write properly in English. But we do not blame them, we blame the system instead,” he was quoted saying.
“That is why the Sarawak state government under the leadership of Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem is now aiming to bring back the importance of English in our schools,” he said, referring to Adenan’s strongly-worded criticism recently of the decades-old education policy.
Manyin also advised SPM students to focus both on improving their proficiency in English and getting excellent results, ahead of the final examination for high schoolers.
He pointed out that top-scoring students would not be able to go far if their grasp of English was poor.
“Therefore, I hope the students would take the initiative to master English. Start talking with each other in English. You may not be speaking perfect English because this is not your mother’s tongue but you will eventually improve. Teachers and parents can help too,” the Tebedu assemblyman said.
Another Sarawak leader also urged the government to set up more community colleges to help rural Malaysians gain employment after completing their secondary school compulsory education.
“This will allow our youths to obtain skills and knowledge after having completed their SPM or STPM studies, so that they will be able to find employment.
“Now, there are many SPM and STPM graduates who remain unemployed because they do not have the skills [as required in the job market]. The industries out there need skilled workers,” Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Unggah Embas was quoted saying in a separate report by The Borneo Post.
He cited the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy project as requiring 300,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers if it were to be completed by 2020.
Unggah said the opening of additional community colleges was important to make secondary school leavers more suited for the job market, highlighting that 60 per cent of the 1.5 million new jobs projected under the 11th Malaysia Plan require skills related to technical and vocational education and training.
He said only six out of the over 90 community colleges in Malaysia are located in Sarawak, namely in Kuching, Santubong, Mas Gading, Betong, Sarikei and Miri.
Source : The Malay Mail Online