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September 09, 2013

Malaysia | Secondary Level

Malaysia: Spelling the blues over English ruling

Teach-English-in-MalaysiaIn this opinion piece, Leanne Goh looks at the implications of a government decision to make English a mandatory passing subject for Malaysian secondary school pupils.

Our SPM students do best in Bahasa Malaysia and worst in English.

Going by last year’s SPM results, 23% of the candidates failed English and this group risks completing 11 years of schooling without that final paper qualification come 2016 when a pass in the language is made compulsory.

They number more than 105,000 out of the 459,118 candidates who sat for the exam last year.

And to compound the problem, there will be another compulsory pass next year (besides BM) – History. This core subject saw the biggest decline in passes in last year’s SPM – 19.7% failed compared to 16.7% the year before.

So, in the near future, low achieving students have to overcome three “hurdles” to obtain that SPM certificate or join the workforce without paper qualification. And we are talking about potentially a six-figure number.

This puts tremendous pressure on everyone. And no one knows it better that the Education Ministry as the mastermind of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 which was launched on Friday.

Read the full article from Malaysia Today.

Read a related piece from The Malaysian Insider on conservative reaction to the decision.

(Editor's note: The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination taken by all fifth-year secondary school students in Malaysia. More from Wikipedia.)

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