KUALA LUMPUR,Nov 20: English-medium schools should be re-established in this country to improve students’ English language proficiency to enable them to compete in a world that will be full of challenges in future.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan who made the call, said individuals who could master English, a prime international language, would have the edge over those not proficient in the language, more so in an era of rapid technological advancement which involved much usage of English.
“I am a firm believer that English schools should be set up in this country because we have the national schools, Chinese schools, Tamil schools, private schools, religious schools, international schools and others. So, what’s wrong with having English schools?
“Malaysia was at one time regarded as as country with its people highly proficient in the English language, but now various quarters are saying that our graduates are unable to master the English language,” he told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the Future of Work, Workplace, Workforce Conference, here.
He said to realise the idea, all parties including political leaders, non-governmental organisations, parent-teacher associations, teachers and academicians needed to discuss the matter holistically and not make it a political polemic.
Abdul Rahman said establishing English-medium schools could also be seen as a way to prepare today’s students with suitable skills and the capacity to make them a workforce who could cope with the technological advancements in future.
“Many studies conducted have shown that the workforce in future will be facing an awesome challenge if they don’t possess suitable skills and the capacity in facing new technology which will be taking over people’s jobs.”
He said in preparing towards that, the government agency, Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp), had been given the mandate to draw up a blueprint to identify the methods of producing students and graduands with the kind of needed skills and capacity.
Earlier in his keynote address, Abdul Rahman said fast emerging technologies were expected to drive digital disruptions in every industry in this country and would potentially result in more jobs at risk of being ‘replaced’.
He said, based on the findings of a recent paper by Khazanah Research Institute, 54 per cent of all jobs in Malaysia could be at high risk of being displaced by technological disruptions in the next two decades.
“In terms of skill level, over 70 per cent of all semi-skilled and 80 per cent of low-skilled jobs across all major economic sectors are at high risk.
“Critically, it is Malaysians who are likely to be most affected by technological displacement, given that 90 per cent of all semi-skilled jobs are actually held by Malaysians,” he said.–Bernama