THE MALAYSIA Education Blueprint may provide solutions and the answers to matters pertaining to our education system but there are some outstanding issues that need serious and urgent attention.
·Level of BM and English Language (EL) in national type schools
There is a difference in the way Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and the English Language is taught to primary level pupils in national type schools (SJK) compared to other national schools (SK).
I was definitely taken aback. Since pupils in SJK schools will eventually go to national secondary schools and learn the same syllabus as their SK peers, why are these children being discriminated and deprived of what they should learn in primary school?
Are we assuming national type school students are incapable of absorbing what their friends of the same age in national schools are learning?
·New syllabus without textbooks
A new English Language syllabus was introduced in 2010. However, there were no textbooks published or released to go with the new syllabus. Is it not ironic that textbooks have yet to be printed?
When a new syllabus is introduced for government schools, we need a standard reference that is put together in a textbook as it facilitates classroom teaching and learning. Although we are in the digital era, we still need textbooks. Textbooks serve as a guide for teachers to plan and execute lessons.
·Standardised vocabulary list
Many pupils are not interested in reading neither are they interested in building their vocabulary.
Most primary school pupils move on to secondary school not knowing the meanings of simple words, idioms and proverbs. What may seem simple to some children may seem difficult to another. So much time is wasted in just translating words before comprehending a text.
If the national curriculum could provide standardised lists from primary to secondary levels for both Bahasa Malaysia and the English Language, it will certainly be a boost for the students, teachers and parents.
·Thinking skills in English Language
Language learning at present involves mainly four major skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. What is lacking during English Language lessons is the learning of thinking skills.
Since children these days are exposed to all kinds of reading and learning materials from a young age, introducing thinking skills from primary level will be to their advantage.
Thinking skills involves reasoning, problem-solving, analysing, evaluating and decision-making. Initially when students were learning Science and Mathematics in English, there were elements of thinking skills incorporated into the system.
English Language teaching at present needs to incorporate more knowledge-based context. and the subject (English language) itself should evolve from its linguistic form into a purposeful and meaningful form. This will encourage students to start thinking in English.
I think the above issues need to be given more attention as such improvements would indeed make our education system a better one.
S. SHARMINI Johor Baru The STAR Online Opinion Sunday December 23, 2012