Very simple: bring back English-medium schools and use the Cambridge syllabus with some fine-tuning. But this will require strong political will.
Why is it that the children of our diplomats have no problem with English? The answer is because they studied at international schools where English is the medium of instruction.
They speak English, they breathe English, they joke in English and that is why they can read the Harry Potter books with ease.
The children of my diplomat friends who go to international schools have high self-esteem, are confident of themselves, speak well, are open-minded, have good general knowledge and, above all, like to read.
To them, books are like drugs. In fact, their parents spend a lot of money on books.
And these children have no problem doing research or following lectures in university.
They put interviewers to shame with their flawless English. But they have a serious problem with Bahasa Malaysia, which is to be expected!
I believe language cannot be taught like Science or Mathematics.
Importing native language teachers from American Ivy League universities or England will not help either. Instead, these teachers will have a good vacation in Malaysia as they will literally be speaking Greek to the students.
It is wrong to assume that students are not interested in English. It is wrong to blame parents for not guiding or motivating their children to master English.
It is wrong to blame teachers for not trying their best.
Students want to read Reader's Digest or English newspapers but they can't because of their poor command of the language.
They are the product of the system. It is a waste and a pity.
HASSAN TALIB, Gombak, Selangor firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more: The NST Home Letters to the Editor 2011/08/15