Malaysian parents fume over teacher's English test questions

PETALING JAYA - Parents are once again questioning the quality of our government school system after an English teacher at an urban high-performing school supposedly crafted grammatically incorrect sentences in an English test.

An online news portal reported that a parent had posted pictures of her primary school child's English test paper on Facebook, a post which has since been removed, showing a test paper filled with questions such as, "What time is the concert starts?".

The parent slammed the teacher for her poor command of the language and also for chiding her son when he pointed out the mistakes.

"She had the cheek to deduct one mark from him for bad handwriting, but she doesn't think that her paper is all screwed up? This is so embarrassing!" said the parent on social media.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap said the incident was regrettable and that the ministry had asked the headmistress of the school for an explanation.

"The headmistress regretted the mistakes made by the English panel that set the exam papers," she told The Star.

Yap said it was normal practice for subject heads to vet the questions before the test is given to students, and added that the headmistress would meet all subject panel heads to remind them of their responsibilities.

The meeting will also discuss standard operating procedures for setting test questions.

"It is obvious that the teacher who set the questions needs to be given help to improve proficiency in the language, especially in grammar," Yap said, adding that arrangements would be made for the teacher to attend the ministry's programmes to enhance English proficiency.

Yap also said the ministry was serious about upskilling teachers, including those teaching other subjects.

"Continuous professional development for teachers and head teachers is very much needed to sustain the quality of their service."

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