Najib’s proposal to source English teachers from India is “crossing of the Rubicon” marking the failure of the Malaysian education system to reverse declining standards and to prepare the new generation of Malaysians for the challenges of the 21st century

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s proposal in New Delhi yesterday to source English teachers for Malaysian schools from India in a bid to help alleviate the shortage of teachers in English and to improve proficiency of the language in Malaysia marks the crossing of the Rubicon for the Malaysian national education system – as it is a sad admission of the failure of the Malaysian education system over the decades to arrest and reverse declining educational standards and to prepare the new Malaysian generation for the challenges of the 21st century.

In the recent past, Malaysia had been sourcing English-language teachers from the United Kingdom and the United States, ignoring the rich reservoir of available local talents to teach the English language. Now the Prime Minister is proposing to source them from India. Will Malaysia next source English teachers from the African continent?

This is undeniably a grievous psychological blow to the nation which had rightly prided itself as a country with high international standards and attainments in English language when it achieved Merdeka in 1957, and should now be sending Malaysians as English-language teachers all over the world, including India, as one of our precious international assets.

Instead, Malaysia has degenerated to become an importing nation for English-language teachers from foreign countries. What a national shame!

The deplorable state of affairs with regard to the proficiency of the English language in Malaysia after half a century of nationhood is exemplified by the shocking admission by a top Education Ministry official recently that two-thirds of the 70,000 English language teachers in the country failed to reach a proficient English level while a test carried out by the Education Ministry based on the comparison of the students’ results in SPM English and Cambridge 1119 Standards showed that two in three students failed to meet the basics in English proficiency.

Why has the Malaysian national education system degenerated to such a pass – where two-thirds of 70,000 English language teachers not proficient in English have produced a generation of students two-thirds of whom are not proficient in English?

One reason for this malady of the Malaysian education system is because the country has a series of Education Ministers who regard their portfolios as stepping-stones to higher political office – even the Prime Ministership – and not really interested in their responsibility to establish an educational system for an innovative, creative, competitive and prosperous Malaysia for the future.

This was illustrated by the poor Malaysian results in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) 2011 announced on Dec 11, with total indifference by the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who has refused to say a single word despite the importance of the results in a subject which comes directly under his responsibility.

This is further proof why the time has come for a change of Federal Government in Putrajaya in the 13GE as the Umno/BN Government after 55 years have become too rotten and out of tune with the national needs and challenges of the 21st century.

  1. #1 by Birch Lagi Baru on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 8:35 pm

    According to the MOE, they have an excess of English Language Teachers in many urban schools. And these teachers have great difficulty teaching students to understand Malaysian English. Now they want to bring in these Indian Nationals to make the poor students understand Hinglish!

  2. #2 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 9:54 pm

    I bet there will be problem on the pronunciation of these Indian teachers who have been teaching English all their life in India. We should get those teachers, most would be in their middle 60s to early 70s who can still teach to do the job! Remember those Indonesian teachers, many equipped with Drs? Well, we had to stop their importation after a couple of years. Why? Even my Malay Guru Besar became suspicious! So he asked the bunch of local College-trained maths teachers to translate some problems from Further Analysis and Applied Maths for them to solve. Couldn’t do! So he informed us, as he was being promoted to be a Deputy State CEO, he would stop the ‘nonsense’! We used to have a history teacher from India with an MA. Her Hindlish style of English even deterred my Indian friend from continuing history those days! Coupled with the current standard and quality of Manglish, maybe these teachers may have to surrender too!

  3. #3 by monsterball on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 10:00 pm

    They have been saying this for decades and after each election they won…they forgot what they promised and sort of not rock the boat when the boat was sailing well.
    Everything they say is to capture confidence and votes.
    Najib has promised many things but all are hollow words…vanished into thin air…so much so…he has shown to Malaysians he is powerless and a show dog for his party only.
    Corruptions and murders …all ignored.

  4. #4 by raven77 on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 11:21 pm

    Yes remember those Indons with Dotorandas or something like that…major con job…Indonesia has one of the lowest standards of education around here and we send some of our best students there to study…Not sure even God can help Malaysia anymore.

  5. #5 by john on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 11:59 pm

    Out of the blue strategy, a transformasi from blue ocean – celup type ‘sendiri shiok’ strategy. Or, is already in the latest Education blueprint ( guilty for not knowing) . Common word here “blue” – most probably become ‘out of touch’ of our Nation’s Education dilemmas after having seen too many B movies.

    • #6 by cemerlang on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 8:42 pm

      1.2 million gomen servants and counting. What’s so blue about that ? Coming back to English and Manglish or whatever lish, the students have a degree of English language knowledge. They are not totally English illiterate. But our system suppress them, oppress them to the extend that it seems like, it looks like, they don’t know English. Therefore it is up to you heroes, to do something to give them the liberty of language freedom.

  6. #7 by Noble House on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 3:26 am

    The one good thing the British did was to left us with a good education system. Somehow, they saw it fit to completely destroyed it and thought they could make it out there with one of their own design. Decades down the road from one blueprint to another what we have today is a nation of sheeps. The younger generation are now paying for this blunder!

    Can we truly expect those who aim to exploit us to be trusted to educate us? The record speaks for itself!

  7. #8 by yhsiew on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 3:48 am

    If the person in charge of Education has “Malay first, BM first” kind of mentality, how do we expect the nation’s English standard to be improved?

  8. #9 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 5:14 am

    It frustrate me to no end the idiocy of such things that UMNO /BN leader does – when they can’t perform the best, they think they can choose something lessor and get away with it when it fact its NOT EVEN A CHOICE.

    India education system, in fact, pretty much like most things in the country, is highly skewed to one end. There is a small group of highly talented and skilled people while the rest of the masses are simply of almost unbelievable low standards. Its true of almost any skills – be it programming, communication or just about any skills. For those who don’t know, the majority of Indian STILL don’t speak English. Often cited reasons are their legacy caste system and corruption. BUT the fact of the matter is that those who have operated in India know this for a fact that available pool of skill and talent is very thin.

    For those who are highly qualified to do what we want them to do, the cost is prohibitive – they are better off going to Singapore or in fact other places that can offer them better. There is a group of in-between that is qualified but not the best and depriving our challenged-students the best available risks further failure for at least some.

    India lost its call-center lead to the Philippines precisely because of the skill curve in India is very skewed. For those who don’t know, the majority of Indian STILL don’t speak English.

    We have been down this road too often. We tried this with our public hospitals to keep cost down and it was a failure and no long term solution in sight.

    Again, these smart-alec things that only lead to more problems and always certain some significant failure at least if not total. its the same with OUR industries, our judiciary, our police, and certaintly true of our education.

  9. #10 by sotong on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 11:13 am

    Now some Indians will return to BN/MIC.

    It’s all a political game to stay in power, other matters are secondary.

  10. #11 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 12:18 pm

    With the exception of a number of high quality IT and medical institutions, India has not done well in many aspects of general education. India did very poorly in the PISA tests and I believe they didn’t take part in the TIMMS tests. I smell some political motive inn this move as many less Indians will be emotionally drawn into it. Every community will have exceptional brains but the role of the national Gomen is to up-lift the overall competitiveness of its people here India may have failed to achieve. Are we venturing into the same path in general education? It is obvious that the PM has lost control over the nation’s direction. After all, he INHERITED it. And he is postponing the next GE. Out of fear or lack confidence or in reality both! Indeed the nation really need new leadership!

  11. #12 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 1:42 pm

    English teachers from India – good for written, maybe not so good for verbal instruction!

    Careful vetting may be able to solve the problem though. Many Indians speak English like Ind-glish and that is not acceptable.

    • #13 by Bunch of Suckers on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 5:52 pm

      Ha ha ha…

      Absolutely! That’s true! I met many of them in OXYland! They speak Ind-gish, not English!!!! For example, when they ask for the current time, they said, “What’s the timeeeee?” with a pretty strong Indian accent! They stress with long “timeeeeee…”, long “eh…” sound and typical funny emphasized “What” sound!! They often speak pretty fast with typical accents like they speak Tamil or… Born and educated in OXYland, they speak pretty good like OXYs, like many other Asians do, typical OXY accent!.

      Why China can attract good English teachers from the USA, UK, OXY-land, Kiwi-land and etc…? I learned and saw them in CNTV (China Network TV) News! Why can’t our Bolehland? Must be something wrong with our educational system!

      In the past, our Bolehland had many qualified Western English Teachers!! Why they vanished in thin air quick? Again, it must be poor educational system!!!

      Who faults? it must be BN/ UMNO B suckers’ faults!

  12. #14 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 1:44 pm


    How did Muhyiddin end up with such a mess?

    Sigh! 32,500 students scored As in UPSR? Or is it more?

    How many scored As in PMR?


    Moo…..ask the cows how did we end up in such a heap of dung.

  13. #15 by tuahpekkong on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 2:41 pm

    You don’t have to go that far to find English Language teachers. Singapore has one of the highest standards of English in the world among speakers whose mother tongue is not English. We are much more familiar with their accent. They may be able to provide us with some English Language teachers and help us to re-train ours. I think probably over 75% of our English Language teachers need to upgrade their English Language skills. The Minister of Education should also lead a delegation to Singapore to find out how Singapore can attain such a high standard in the English Language, Maths and Science subjects.

  14. #16 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 6:47 pm

    Also, the public should know what kind of mechanism is being used to recruit Indian teachers.

    I am begiining to also smell an AES-style of mechanism where some parties are going to be enriched here or in India and the money finds its way to some SWISS UMNO-account a’la Musa-AMan kind-lah.

  15. #17 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 6:48 pm

    If you can trust UMNO, you can trust the cows to sound like the Viennese Boys Choir.

    Or cows to guard Bangsar condominiums too.

    • #18 by cemerlang on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 8:43 pm

      well thing is whether you love it or hate it, they have the money

  16. #19 by Cinapek on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 11:11 pm

    This is an election gimmick, plain and simple. Najib is trying to appeal to the emotional loyalties of the Indians in order to gain their votes. If the Govt is really sincere about improving the standard of English in schools, all they have to do is to seek out the pool of retired teachers of yesteryear who typically would have a good command of English. Even if they were not English teachers, their command of English would easily be better than most of the teachers in our school system today.

  17. #20 by Cinapek on Saturday, 22 December 2012 - 11:14 pm

    The line of Education Ministers that caused the rot in our education system today includes Tun Dr Mahathir, Najib, Hishammuddin and now Muhyuddin.

    That says it all.

  18. #21 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 23 December 2012 - 9:52 am

    It will take us at least another 30 years to undo all this mess. So Malaysians should decide if we can afford to postpone it to a later date? If not, the answer is loud and clear. Even within 30 years, I am not sure, if we can make it in the international platform; knowing that other developing nations are pursuing the same objective to compete for the limited resources around this flat, flat world! So long that the Gomen can create jobs in the public sector, just like the Gomen of USA, the people will bite the bait, surely this cannot continue ’til kingdom cometh! To those with school going children, a practical advice is to help them with your OWN syllabi of those important subjects: Languages and Maths; having commanded these subjects, the rest shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

  19. #22 by boh-liao on Sunday, 23 December 2012 - 2:49 pm

    Y fr India? What happened 2 our numerous un-employable graduates?
    Start “Mind your language”-style English language cl@sses, sure OK 1

  20. #23 by Loh on Sunday, 23 December 2012 - 5:01 pm

    The students would certainly learn oral Indish well.

  21. #24 by rubini on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 - 3:48 pm

    Tampal syndrome. Instead of changing the pipe , the guy tries to cover the hole which the water is bursting at various places. After 55 years under BN;

    a) English System demised
    b) Missionary schools has demised
    c) English Language Teachers has demised
    d) English students has demised

    Hidup UMNO

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