Teachers who do not meet the proficiency standards this year will be put through an intensive eight-week immersion programme and eight-week self-learning course in 2013, which will provide 480 hours of lessons.
The immersion programme is an in-person, face-to-face course with 30 hours of contact time a week while the self-learning course is a modular, computer-based programme with 30 hours of self-directed learning per week.
Teachers will be evaluated at the end of 2013 and those who still do not meet the minimum competency standards will have to make the necessary improvements by 2015.
Those whose grasp of English is too weak to teach the language will be redeployed to teach other subjects.
The vacancies they leave behind will be filled with existing English language teachers that are currently not teaching the subject, new graduate teachers or retired teachers.
Besides the upgrading of teachers, the Literacy and Numeracy (LINUS) programme, which was initially created to ensure pupils acquired basic literacy in Bahasa Malaysia and mathematical skills, will be expanded to also include English language literacy.
This introduction is a bid to reach the ministry’s target of having 70 per cent of students achieving a Cambridge 1119-equivalent minimum credit in SPM English by 2025 and to ensure students are equipped to work in a globalised economy.
Within the next year, LINUS 2.0 will be rolled out to all primary schools where students in Years 1 to 3 will be screened twice a year to determine if they are progressing in English literacy at an expected pace.
Those who fall behind will be given remedial coaching until they catch up.
All Form 1 students will also take a diagnostic test and based on the results, students will be assigned to a “set” with students of similar English proficiency levels.
These sets will be smaller than normal classes and will have only about 20 to 30 students, allowing teachers to tailor pedagogical styles according to students’ skill level and learning requirements.
Students will also have greater exposure to the English language at secondary level, such as through an expanded, compulsory English Literature module.
By Eunice Au