Ministry of Education
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Towards Vision 2020 and beyond via bilingualism ★★★★★
Towards Vision 2020 and beyond via bilingualism Posted on March 31, 2013, Sunday
To lay the groundwork, the Education Ministry has started training over 60,000 teachers in English proficiency this year in two waves under the Malaysia Education Blueprint. Muhyddin, who is also the Education Minister, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to promoting the use of English in schools. “Our target is for students to be bilingual — proficient in both Bahasa Malaysia and English,” he said.
The effectiveness of English as a communications tool is reflected by the very large number of people learning the language – about one billion throughout the world. English is the most widely spoken than any other language. It’s the native language of more than 350 million people worldwide as well. Moreover, English is the lingua franca of diplomacy, business, science, technology, banking, computing, aviation, tourism and also the UN.
In an interview with a national tabloid lately, a former cabinet minister had called for a review of the education system. “Make English compulsory in all national schools. Without English we cannot compete. We must insist on English as a second language,” he said. According to him, it was not a mistake to change the medium of instruction from English to Bahasa Malaysia which is the language of the nation and of unity. The mistake, he pointed out, was in the policies which were to promote Bahasa Malaysia but it had to be at the expense of English. More crucially in the Malaysian context, the duality of fluency in the National Language and English will serve to propel the country towards an industrialised and high-income society by the year 2020 and beyond.