Stop blaming teachers for pupils’ poor English, says union

NUTP president Aminuddin Awang says pupils lack motivation as they are not required to pass the English subject in the SPM examination. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A comprehensive study should be conducted to determine the cause of poor English Language proficiency among school children, rather than continually blaming the teachers, their union said today.

Aminuddin Awang, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession, said the education ministry and those involved in the education sector should identify the causes of poor English proficiency instead of requiring English language option teachers to sit for the Malaysian University English Test.

“Besides a shortage of option teachers there may be other factors such as environment, lack of motivation as students are not required to pass the subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination and so forth.

“So we have to sit down together to discuss the various factors,” he said after attending an NUTP seminar on English Language education today.

On April 14, education director-general Amin Senin issued a circular for teachers teaching English language teachers to take the MUET.

He said this was to review their level of English proficiency, in line with the requirements set out in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

According to the circular, all English language teachers should be at the minimum proficiency level of C1, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

It was also notified that 20,634 teachers have yet to sit for any tests to determine their level of English proficiency and they were urged to sit for MUET.

Aminuddin said the English Language Education Reform Plan in Malaysia: The Roadmap 2015-2025 did not state the need for teachers to sit for MUET, other than the CEFR.

Aminuddin reiterated that the NUTP is not in agreement with the directive as MUET is only taken by students who aim to further their university studies.

He said teachers had attended various intensive exercises, including the Cambridge Placement Test and Aptis-Assess English Skills, organised by the British Council.

He also urged the ministry to clarify who were the teachers required to sit for MUET.

“We want a confirmation on the teachers required to sit for MUET. “Are they the BI (Bahasa Inggeris) option or non-BI option teachers? Conflicting statements have been issued by the ministry on this.”

Aminuddin said NUTP also wanted to know what would happen to teachers who fail to achieve the required level when they take the MUET in November.

He said he wanted to meet Education Minister Maszlee Malik to discuss this issue.