PAGOH - The English Language will not be sidelined but will be boosted by improving English language teachers so that students can compete globally, as stipulated in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
He said most parents wanted their children to master the international language despite its status as the No. 2 language in the country, adding that proficiency in the language was important for people to compete globally.
"We will not marginalise the use of the language. On the contrary, we are sending more teachers to upgrade their skills in the teaching of the language. Eventually, we want the mastery of the language among our students to be on a par with that of foreign students."
Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, was speaking at a gathering with teachers at Kompleks Pekembar here yesterday.
To ensure that students were provided with the best English teachers in classrooms, he said the Education Ministry would upgrade the proficiency of English teachers by sending more of them for English language courses.
From only 5,000 English teachers sent for courses last year, Muhyiddin said the number would increase to 20,000 this year.
"I believe that an effective way to improve the proficiency of the language among students is to upgrade the teaching skills of our English teachers by sending them for advanced courses.
"During my visit to the United Kingdom recently, I had the opportunity to meet English language experts from the University of Cambridge, who praised the level of teaching and learning of the English language in our schools."
Muhyiddin said the university had conducted a study on the proficiency of English language teachers in Malaysia and the initial results were encouraging.
"I was told that 37 per cent of our English language teachers have a high proficiency, on a a par with that of their counterparts in the United Kingdom where English is the main language."
Earlier, at an event in Muar, Muhyiddin said the government treated all communities or groups in the country equally.
Bernama quoted him as saying that the Orang Asli community, and also the indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak, were given equal treatment and received aid from the government without any discrimination.
"There is no discrimination in terms of our treatment of any community in the country, including the Orang Asli.
"The government's policy is to be fair and just to all," he said at a gathering with the Orang Asli in Kampung Tambak Dapur in Pagoh.
Muhyiddin said among the issues most stressed on in the development of the Orang Asli was education.
He urged Orang Asli parents not to neglect the education of their children.