BN MP: Countries That Adopt An English-Medium Education System Are Not Successful

A recent survey found that eight out of 10 Johoreans support the restoration of English-medium schools in the state.

Cover image via SAYS

There has been a lot of talk about restoring English-medium schools in Malaysia lately after a recent survey found that eight out of 10 Johoreans supported the notion of bringing back English-medium schools in the state

Photo for illustration purposes only.

Image via Malaysian Chinese

According to the survey, which was conducted by Singapore's Yusuf Ishak institute (ISEAS), 82% out of 2,011 respondents above 18 years old across all races want the return of a "one school for all" concept.

In 2015, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim proposed that Malaysia should emulate Singapore's single-stream education system with English as the medium of instruction, as the system had worked well in helping the country's economic development and fostering harmony among its various ethnic groups.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has also expressed his support for bringing back English-medium schools, pointing out that the ultimate decision can only be made with input from parents, teachers, and the students themselves

However, Rompin MP Hasan Arifin has voiced his disdain over the reintroduction of an English-medium education system, saying that a majority of countries who adopt English as a medium of learning were not successful

Rompin MP and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Hasan Arifin.

Image via MyNewsHub

"Show us, which country uses English as a medium that is successful in developing the country? Why are we so obsessed with restoring a language (medium) that does not show their success in developing their country?" he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini during the Budget 2018 debate in Dewan Rakyat yesterday, 23 November.

"The success of a country is not because of a language, but the development of a good system," he argued. 

Hasan cited Asian countries like Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea that are successful without relying on english as a medium of learning in schools. He added that Singapore does not count as "it is not a country, but a city-state".

"Now, tell me, has any country in Asia that had adopted the English-medium (been) successful in its development? If you talk about Singapore, it is not a country, but a city-state," he said.

Malaysiakini reported that he also said that the while the US indeed used English as an education medium, it is an attractive education system because "they have many different languages and imported professors into the country."

Gerakan Youth chief Andy Yong disagrees with Hasan, saying that the examples given were "absurd" as English is globally used as the lingua franca of rapidly-growing industries like IT, science, and medicine

Gerakan Youth Chief Andy Yong

Image via Andy Yong / The Rakyat Post

"(Hasan) must understand that globally, English is the language of information technology. It is the language of conversation and business and command of the language is important to study Science, Law and Medicine. The lack of fluency in England among the majority of our students can pose a huge hindrance to their future," Yong explained.

"We can judge by comparing those who were born in the '50s or '60s when English was used as the medium of education in our schools. It is absurd to give examples of China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan. These countries have a high quality of education system. Their teachers and students are generally very hardworking. We are still far behind," he added. 

Do you think the Malaysian education system will benefit from bringing back English-medium schools? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

In recent years, studies have highlighted poor English proficiency as one of the top reasons why Malaysian graduates are unable to cope with employment:

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