This is purportedly to “allow teachers and students more time to prepare”. Be that as it may, there are also many teachers and students who are ready for the “challenge”.
To them, it is disappointing and frustrating, to say the least. Some have suggested that we give the system another five years or so. I shudder to imagine what the outcome will be.
We can do away with all this so-called “politically correct” talk. We should take a leaf from history. In the 1950s and 1960s, Form Five students sat the Malayan Certificate of Education (MCE) examination.
We must give students a fulfilling experience in learning the English language, whether they are from a rural or an urban school.
A credit pass in English was compulsory then. There was also a requirement that candidates secure at least an ordinary pass, that is, Grades P7 and P8 in the Bahasa Kebangsaan (National Language, BK) paper.
The Malay language was then only beginning to gain prominence.
Nevertheless, candidates could also choose to sit the Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language, BM) papers, which were a “harder” version of the Bahasa Kebangsaan paper.
A compulsory pass in BM was not necessary to get the MCE, only a pass in BK was required.
A reversal of roles in Bahasa Melayu and English can be discerned here. In this “transition” period, why not have two versions of the SPM English papers?
A pass in the “simpler” version (as that of BK) is sufficient for one to get the SPM certificate. Students who are more competent can also opt to sit the “harder” version of the English papers (as that of BM).
Postponing or delaying implementation of a compulsory pass in SPM English may have a dampening effect on the learning of the language, especially for students in a rural setting.
The Education Ministry must realise that it can have many batches of Form Five students to “experiment” with. But for a child, he or she has only one year to sit in a Form Five class.
We must give them the most fulfilling experience in learning the English language, whether they are from a rural or an urban school.