PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently commented about bringing in English teachers from India to raise students' English proficiency.
Some comments were made by the public about the accent of Indian English teachers, which Malaysian students may find difficult to understand.
The older generation of Indians used to speak English with a heavy accent, but in the last three decades, many improvements have been made, especially in Indian private and missionary schools.
The students coming out from these secondary schools are on a par with any in the West or Commonwealth.
Just look at the tens of thousands of Indians working in multinationals, tertiary institutions and other sectors in across the world.
Look at how India's sportsmen, corporate leaders and film stars speak English. They are the products of India's educational system.
Of all the former British colonies, it was only in India and Pakistan where English was truly nurtured, and this explains the large number of people from these two countries who converse well in English.
India has a strong pro-English lobby which has defended the use of English in the country, and fought off attempts to reduce the importance of English in India.
Since the 1980s, proficiency in English has enabled India to become a powerhouse in information and communications technology and today, most Indians realise the economic value of English.
Indian English teachers are highly in demand, especially with the mushrooming of international schools worldwide.
These teachers command high salaries.
They place more emphasis on literature, grammar and other linguistic skills and their teaching methods have been found to be effective as proven by the thousands of Indian students who secure places in top universities.
Malaysian students will benefit from Indian English teachers, who could prove to be better than native English teachers, whose own accent is a big problem for students, especially in rural areas.
V. Thomas, Sungai Buloh, Selangor | firstname.lastname@example.org New Straits Times Opinion 07 February 2913