Sarawak Civil Service Applicants Submitted Blank Papers Due To Poor Command Of English
Graduates from rural areas in Sarawak who could not write even a simple English essay submitted blank papers during their interview
The Borneo Post Online reported how poor command of English has forced graduates to forego essay-writing in the language as part of the interview process.
Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin Jawong, who was quoted by the Borneo Post Online in its report, said, "I was told that some of them submitted blank sheets of paper because they were scared to write (in English). If that's the case, they could not even enter the civil service."
The simple essay in English is one of the requirements for applicants to be recruited into the state civil service. Submitting a blank paper instead will hurt their chances of entering civil service.
According to Minister Jawong, previously there were some applicants who did attempt to write the essays albeit with incorrect grammar and sentence structures, "the recent batch of potential recruits did not even jot down a single word."
"That's why I am serious about this English Proficiency Programme because our community would become the victims at the end of the day (if nothing is done).
"I hope the communities and the schools would support this programme because this is the only way for us to move forward," Jawong was quoted as saying by the English newspaper daily, after he launched the programme at SK Nanga Ajau, Betong.
He also said that improving proficiency in English and increasing students' interest in STEM subjects are the priorities for the Ministry
The Borneo Post reported that circulars about adopting schools and implementing the English Proficiency Programme had been given to all assemblymen and assemblywomen in the state, be they from the Barisan Nasional (BN) or the opposition
"I tell my officers that when it comes to education, we cannot just talk about BN elected representatives. When it comes to education, whatever policies we formulate, it must transcend the political divide," he added.
While efficiency in English remains a problem, the rural school hostels in Sarawak are also in the terrible state: