PETALING JAYA: Education activists have lauded the government’s move to use imported English textbooks in national schools instead of locally produced ones, saying it will help improve Malaysian students’ proficiency in the globally spoken language.
Tajuddin Rasdi, a professor at UCSI University, said the initiative would expose local students to a higher level of English through the foreign-edited books.
He said it would also instil a wider acceptance of other cultures as depicted in the international publications.
By reading the imported books, he added, a person’s viewpoint in aspects like culture, religion and lifestyle could be broadened.
“Another reason to support the government’s decision is that these books are written by professional writers in Britain,” he told FMT.
He said the content boasted strong and effective use of vocabulary, grammar and diagrams.
According to a news report, the move is part of the education ministry’s decision to implement a new curriculum aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which provides a guide developed by the Council of Europe to gauge foreign language proficiency.
The curriculum will be implemented next year for students of Standard One and Two, as well as those of Form One and Two.
Primary school pupils will use Super Minds from Cambridge University Press, while secondary students will read MacMillan’s Pulse 2.
Tajuddin said he had seen the imported textbooks and compared them with local books, adding that they were far apart in learning quality.
He also said reading was key to inculcating good English.
He said the ministry needed to fill school libraries with a variety of books instead of just those traditionally focusing on UPSR or SPM students.
Meanwhile, Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) head Noor Azimah Rahim said the move would help boost students’ proficiency in English, pointing out that private schools were already using imported textbooks.
She added that the standards of the current local textbooks were too low, which prevented students from reaching a higher level of learning.
However, she also expressed concern about the ability of local teachers to teach the new curriculum.
“The teachers should be able to handle it because we are using it starting next year,” she said, urging the ministry to be efficient in allowing the teachers to be “upskilled” for the purpose.