Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mastering English

English is a necessity not an option

It is really distressing to read your report “Varsity students do badly in MUET”(Star, Jan 24).
It is disturbing to know that almost one-third of our public university students scored Bands One and Two in the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) which indicates their low proficiency in English.

The recommendation by the vice-chancellors' committee to make it compulsory for students to score at least a Band Three before they graduate from university is move in the right direction and should be adopted. In fact it should be made a criterion for admission to the university in the first place especially for science-based courses.

Turning down the recommendations of the vice-chancellors’ committee recommendation would be really doing the students a disfavor particularly those from rural areas. Instead the higher qualifying standard should be maintained and the students guided and encouraged to work harder to achieve that.

Lowering the standard and shunning them from the higher requirements would only instill a defeatist attitude in our younger generation, which would be detrimental to the nation in a global world.

While our universities should be commended for ornanising intensive English courses, it is regrettable that they are not taken seriously by the students themselves. This is due to misconceptions, especially in those from rural areas that are ingrained in them earlier from school days.

The positive attitude towards mastering English, or for that matter any language, should be inculcated from young. It should be stressed again and again that fears and prejudice against learning English are unfounded as it will in no way undermine our own national language.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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