I went browsing the Internet the other day to search for notes for my assignments on The Curse novel,and I ended up in one blog, and one post caught my attention. The issue was on our English education in Malaysia.
One guy (or girl?) wrote about the new collection of poems that had been introduced to the syllabus last year,complaining about the lack of language,vocabulary and literary input the new syllabus is offering to the students.
Well,he complained about the new book,for form 4 and form 5,and he said that the new syllabus has more drawings instead of text,and the components are not educative enough.
Hurm...I don't know whether to agree or not,but let us look on the bright side first. The new syllabus apparently had become easier,and there is not a lot of thing that can be learned from the drama as well.The drama that had been chosen has a lot of pointless dialogues,and he complained that the previous syllabus required SPM students to read a novel instead of the supposed-to-be-funny drama.
One thing you must remember,the syllabus we are using right now is the result from the discussions of a panel of teachers and students that had been selected throughout Malaysia.So,what we are learning right now have become easier,thanks to them.This guy obviously had issues with simpler things to learn,and he demanded the government to put more emphasis on the subject.
But,before they decide on a syllabus,they must have been doing some kind of survey,weren't they? And maybe,the results of the survey showed that the level of ability to speak English among students in Malaysia have dropped to a saddening rate.So,if people can't speak English,don't force them to speak! There are lots of schools in Malaysia located in rural areas which have students struggling to pass their BM exams, let alone English.We are a developing country,and we have to increase the number of passing candidates to rise the number of graduates.We need a lot of university graduates to produce manpower to develop the nation.If we make the syllabus too high-leveled,students will end up failing the subject even when they are not supposed to.What is the use of learning boring literature when you will never use the knowledge for the rest of your life after SPM? Do we really need to speak English like Shakespeare did? The answer is no.The level of English required in this country is not that high,and we hope to produce citizens with the ability to engage in daily and simple formal conversations and write simple essays in English but not to produce flamboyant writers.
Instead of blaming the policy makers,we should improve our students by emphasizing on the teaching of English in primary and secondary schools.We should sharpen their grammar,and their confidence to speak and write in English.What I had observed is, some primary schools don't really teach their students English.English period is substituted with other subjects. Don't blame the literature component when it becomes easier.What we should do is reinforcing the basics,not to increase the thickness of the textbooks.