KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: THE number of hours allocated for teaching English in national schools will be increased from 2011.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the move would begin with Year One pupils next year.
"The Cabinet, on Friday, approved the decision to increase the time allocated for English and Bahasa Malaysia subjects.
"This measure will involve national and vernacular schools," he said after launching the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2010 yesterday.
The time allocated for English in national schools will be increased by 90 minutes to 330 minutes a week.
Vernacular schools in Level One (Years One to Three) will see a 100% increase to 120 minutes a week, and those in Level Two (Years Four to Six), from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.
The time allocated in vernacular schools for Bahasa Malaysia will rise by 60 minutes to 330 minutes a week for Level One and by 90 minutes to 330 minutes a week for Level Two.
Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, said schooling hours would not be extended to accommodate the changes.
"We have made adjustments in the school curriculum to fit in with the ministry's new measures," he said.
He added that the move was in line with the Government's strategy to uphold Bahasa Malaysia and strengthen English.
National Union of the Teaching Profession president Hashim Adnan said there should be enough English and Bahasa Malaysia teachers to conduct the extra classes.
Malaysian National Headmas-ters Union president Pang Chong Leong said until schools were given concrete guidelines, it would be hard to gauge how effective the measure would be.