THE Malaysian University Entrance Test (MUET) is a test of English language proficiency for university admissions. The test is set and run by the Malaysian Examinations Council. Most candidates, who sit MUET, do so to apply for admission to local public universities and colleges, and pay a registration fee of RM100.
There are four components that are tested: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The scores of each of the components are then graded into six bands, with Band 1 as extremely limited user and Band 6 as very good user.
MUET is a standard, reliable and authentic testing procedure that tests all the four components of language skills. However, the significance of MUET has been given less importance by some higher learning institutions. Many colleges and institutes that offer twinning courses with private colleges outside Malaysia do not consider MUET as an acceptable test for English language proficiency.
In recent years, MUET has lost its prominence as a requirement test for admission to local universities, be it public or private ones. Many local universities now require students to sit for MUET only to graduate, without taking into account the band achieved.
Early last year, the Teacher Education Division required trainee teachers in teacher training campuses to sit MUET and obtain the minimum Band 1 to enter their degree studies. Band 1 is the lowest band and is equivalent to an extremely limited user of the English language.
Late last year, the division issued a directive that trainee teachers in teacher training campuses need not sit for MUET at all.
The trainees were relieved and overjoyed because MUET had been a stressful test for them.
Teacher trainees should have a good command of the English language, irrespective of their options or major.
The division may have its reasons for exempting teacher trainees from sitting MUET, but MUET offers an extra impetus to trainees to improve their command of English language.
By Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan
Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editors 19 April, 2012