Below is a timeline of when the proposal was conceived right up to the Education Ministry’s four-paragraph announcement on Wednesday.
• June 8: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was then Education Minister, is surprised to learn that English is not a must pass subject at SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) level. The ministry wants public feedback on the matter.
• June 9: The ministry starts accepting comments from the public in the form of telephone calls, e-mails and faxes.
• June 12: Public feedback indicates that a pass in the subject should be made compulsory.
Muhyiddin says the Government will not rush into making a decision on the matter. The public will still be given a chance to express their views.
• Sept 14: For students and teachers to have basic proficiency in the language, the ministry will continue to review the English curriculum.
The grammar and literature components are added to the curriculum. Extra English periods are allocated in schools.
Muhyiddin says the target to make English a compulsory pass at SPM level is “not very far away”.
The English literacy component was first introduced as part of the Literacy and Numeracy test (LINUS).
l Mar 9: The ministry starts training 61,000 English teachers to increase their proficiency. This is under the first wave of the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025).
Since so many people are supportive of the proposal to make English a must pass SPM subject, Muhyiddin is convinced that it can be done.
Students who fail English will not receive a full SPM certificate.
But, they will have the opportunity to re-sit the paper.
l Sept 7: At the launch of the blueprint, Muhyiddin announces that the number of contact hours for English in classrooms will increase.
Extending school hours to make more time for English lessons is under consideration.
English will become a must-pass subject in the SPM examination by 2016, to be implemented in the blueprint’s second wave.
Blueprint’s 2014 Annual Report shows that the Literacy and Numeracy test (LINUS) 2.0 programme indicates positive results.
1.3 million pupils sat for LINUS.
English literacy rates among the first cohort (now in Year Two) increased from 63.3% to 78.3%.
More Year One pupils (70.2%) showes basic English literacy.
The English literacy component was first introduced as part of LINUS in 2013.
l Jan 15: The Government decides to keep English as a compulsory pass subject at SPM level, although requests have been made to delay the decision.
Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan says the ministry will do its best to help teachers and students to improve their English proficiency.
English-proficient teachers will be sent to schools which are still “weak” in the language.
l May 17: Kamalanathan says the Education Ministry will continue to find ways to strengthen English language proficiency across all levels of education.
This is part of the second shift of the blueprint – to ensure every child is proficient in Bahasa Malaysia and the English language.
He reiterates that English is a compulsory pass subject for SPM next year.
l June 12: The Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) says teachers and students need more time before the compulsory pass for SPM English is implemented.
Its president Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam seeks a timeframe of three to five years.
l July 28: Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah who overseas matters pertaining to education for Sarawak, says if drastic measures are not taken soon, many students will fail English.
l Aug 19: The Examinations Syndicate, in a four-paragraph statement states it has put the decision on hold.
It wants teachers and students to have more time and opportunities to prepare.The STAR Home > News > Education Sunday August 23, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM