Is our English worse than our neighbours?

Is our English worse than our neighbours?

Many language experts in Singapore feel the standard of English here has fallen.

But has it plunged even below that of neighbouring Malaysia, where English is not even the medium of instruction in government schools?

One recent survey by an international education company suggests so. Education First's (EF) ranking lists Malaysia in 11th spot, with Singapore one rung below.

Malaysia's Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan even used the ranking to show that the country has improved its English language proficiency.

But is this really the case?

Speak Good English Movement chairman Goh Eck Kheng said EF's survey is not objective.

The sample size varies from country to country depending on the number of random Internet responses and students enrolled, he explained.

"This survey was conducted by a company whose business is to teach English, so one must keep its motives in mind," said Mr Goh.

EF did not specify how many of its 750,000 respondents were from Singapore and Malaysia.

A Malaysian columnist and writer, Mr Kam Raslan, 47, said the survey participants were "self-selecting".

He told The New Paper via an e-mail interview: "Participants in the survey were people who wanted to learn English but could not already speak it.

"The survey does not include anybody who can already speak English fluently."

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