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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Learning English As A Second Language In Malaysia Public Schools

Malaysian kids have to be multi-lingual in school. They learn 2 or 3 languages in school. In Public National schools or Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK), the main medium of instruction is Bahasa Malaysia with English as a second language. In National type school or Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) Tamil, or Chinese the main medium of instruction is Tamil or Chinese with English as a second language while Bahasa Malaysia is compulsory.

According to the KSSR Review for 2017, the number of hours allocated for languages are shown below.
KSSR stands for Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah. It is the new curriculum for primary schools in Malaysia which was introduced in the year 2011. A review was done for 2017.

Number of hours allocated for English as compared to other languages 
(minimum per year)

For SK
Std 1-3
192 hours for BM
160 hours for English

Std 4-6
160 hours for BM
160 hours for English

Std 1-3
192 hours for Tamil/Chinese
160 hours for BM
80 hours for English

Std 4-6
160 hours for Tamil/Chinese
128 hours for BM
96 hours for English

Source of above information is Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia website, (Malaysia Ministry of Education website). Look for the pdf file download with the following title:
"Surat Pekeliling Iktisas KPM Bil. 8 Tahun 2016 - Pelaksanaan Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (Semakan 2017) Secara Berperingkat-Peringkat Mulai Tahun 2017"
Students from SJKC/T are required to learn 3 languages. Therefore the number of hours allocated for English is less. Inevitably, the level of English is also slightly lower.  

These days many parents switch their kids to private or international schools starting from P4 onwards. Sometimes this switch is unplanned, and they are unprepared for the jump in the level of English.  Parents who have the intention to send their children to International schools for upper primary school onward including for their secondary education must ask themselves. "Will my child be able to cope with the transition to English as the main medium of instruction given the amount of time allocated for English at school currently?"

Plan Ahead For Your Child's English Language Education

Planning ahead is essential. There are many cases of parents looking for short cut or fast track language learning before switching their kids to International schools. When it comes to language learning, there are no short cuts so start them young. This will benefit them in the long run. 

English is a critical success factor whether you are going to International schools or otherwise. Even if your child continues to study in public secondary schools with BM as the main medium of instruction and English as a second language, eventually they will need to have a good command of English for college, private universities and beyond when they enter the job market. 

Lorna Whiston, Taman Tun Dr Ismail is having their Open Day on 25th February 2017. Drop by to see how they can help your children find their voice and confidence in the English language.

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