The Role Of English Proficiency In Malaysia

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TEACHERS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE IN THE SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATION OF THE MALAYSIAN SCHOOL CURRICULUM INTRODUCTION Standard of English proficiency among students in our schools and universities are deteriorating. Products of our education system are not meeting industry needs as they are seen as incompetent users of English, particularly in speaking and writing. Although it is reported that Malaysia ‘has the best English language speakers in Asia, ranked as having the highest level of English proficiency out of 13 countries in Asia and, ranked 11th out of 60 countries on the global scale’ (Tan, 2013), the results and performance of Malaysian students and graduates seems to tell a different story about our English language proficiency level. For instance, in the 2011 Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) examination, sadly, ‘only 28% of students achieved a minimum credit in English paper against Cambridge 1119 standards’ (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2012). Other than that, studies have also shown that ‘Malaysian graduates are lacking in terms of English language proficiency, and this has been one of the contributing factors for unemployment among graduates’ (Ahmad Yasruddin Md. Yasin, 2010) . In order to address this issue, transformation of the entire education is deemed necessary to meet the needs of the fast-paced, progressive world. Therefore, in 2010, the Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) was introduced as ‘an effort to restructure and improve the existing
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