Poor English Led To More Than 1,000 Trainee Doctors Giving Up On Their Medical Career

So why are we still delegating the English language to be of minor importance in education?

Cover image via The Ant Daily

A report from The Star today, 9 November, revealed that about 1,000 medical graduates have decided to quit pursuing a career in medicine, despite having completed 2 years of housemanship in the past year

Image via The Ant Daily

The main reason? The trainee doctors could not cope with the pressure of being a full-fledged doctor due to their poor grasp of English.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Malacca chapter president Prof. Dr. M. Nachiappan said other contributing factors were lack of interest in basic medical training, poor relationship skills with patients and frustration due to working condition.

According to Dr. Nachiappan, Malaysian medical students came up short when compared to peers from other countries because of their inadequacy in the English language

"This is not good for the medical fraternity and does not augur well for the nation if stakeholders do not execute some plans to improve the standard of English,” Dr. Nachiappan, who is also deputy dean of Melaka-Manipal Medical College, said.

There must be an urgency to improve the grasp of the language at the primary level. Otherwise, the quality of doctors will go downhill,” he added.

Dr. Nachiappan also pointed out that medical schools are also finding it difficult to churn out quality medical graduates, adding that their inability to communicate in English tend to produce poor results when pursuing their studies in universities and medical colleges

“The quality of our students are compromised due to their inabilities to communicate in English,” he said, adding that most reference books on medicine and lectures were delivered in English.

Poor proficiency in English does not only plague the local medical industry, a survey from the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) also found that 60% of employers identified poor command of the English languages as the main problem with young recruits

Image via The Star Online

The Malaysian Insider had reported in June last year that employers were becoming increasingly dismayed by Malaysia's "generation Y" job seekers, due to their poor command of the English language and communication skills.

A similar survey conducted in September 2013 by online recruitment agency found that 55% of participating senior managers and companies said poor command of the English language was the main reason for unemployment among undergraduates.

School leavers might have SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) English grades of A and B, but could not even hold a conversation in English, MEF executive director Datuk Shamsudin Bardan had told The Malaysian Insider.

Despite all that, the usage of English in educating Malaysian children in local schools continues to be debated:

Is improving on Malaysians' English proficiency a distant dream, especially when some locals took to criticising this woman for using English in her call for help instead of her native tongue?

On the bright side, the newly-unveiled Budget 2016 has allocated free English classes for adults from lower income groups starting from early next year:

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