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MC : It has been observed that many students are not able to become proficient in the English

language regardless of the number of hours of instruction that they have received. Even worse,
not only are they not able to become proficient in the language, they also become demotivated
to learn the language, and exhibit negative behaviours such as not paying attention in class or
skipping English classes.
Based on our topic, we have invited some guests to tell us more on our pleasure. Firstly, I would
like to introduce our Education and Higher Learning Minister II, YB Datin Sri Norashikin;
professor of Speech communication at Pennsylvania State University Madam Nurul hasmida
Jusoh and new MPP from USM, Nurain ali, Barch. In Information Tchnology.

: Alright, lets talk about how serious the low English proficiency among

Malaysian graduates?

: For your information, many employers in Malaysia complain that our graduates

are not proficient in English and are thus not employable. When students graduate from
secondary school after 11 years of learning English as a second language, many of them do not
do well in the subject. Even intelligent young graduates have trouble getting ideas across in
English. Some students can hardly communicate when they need a second language for tertiary
education or for job placement. Last and not least, many law students did not have a strong
command of English and are struggling in the Malaysian courts.


: Wow, unbelievable! The low levels of English proficiency among university

students nowadays becoming a hot issue among academic thinkers. This is because the
students English language skills are not being developed during their higher education
experience. Thus, reflects negatively on the quality of higher education and its graduates. Do
you agree with this statement?


: Well, I quite agree with those statement. The factors low English proficiency

among most students are due to two factors; internal factors such as no confident when using

English, negative attitude towards the English language and external factor like the limited
opportunities to use English outside the classroom.

Chairperson : Oh I see, can you explained a little bit?

Mida : I think, most students have lack of confidence when using English language. For example,
the person that has low self-confidence may refuse to use the language in publics. Anna Freud
once said I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from
within. It is there all the time. This shown that confident levels are decreasing when the
students are lack of self-confidence to use this language. They are afraid to be wrong and
prejudiced about it.


: Thats right emotion is critically important for fluent speech. Its not enough

to know what to say,.. you also need to say what you know. In other words, you must have
the confidence to use your knowledge without hesitation. Have you ever experienced this
situation. Miss Nurain? How you overcame it?


: Yes, I was the same way when I learned English and it still happens all the time.

Learning a new language isn't easy, especially when it is a very vast and widespread language
that is used almost everywhere. Even though I are not comfortable speaking in English, by
speaking even small sentences or words to other people, I am helping myself practice the
language. By using it Im strengthening my knowledge of speaking it and in time I got better at
it. As for my fear of speaking something incorrectly or "wrong" as I say just remember that I
learn from my mistakes. Practice makes perfect. Do not underestimate our self and our abilities
to learn. Try to keep our confidence in yourself high because self-confidence can strengthen
mind, body, and soul, and can open up more doors of opportunity.

Chairperson : Wow, you got a great journey. YB, what do you think about negative attitudes
towards the English language?

Ekyn : The second reason is the negative attitudes towards the English language. For
information, attitude has been defined as the inclination to act or to be in a state of readiness
to act (Gagne, 1985). The students just learnt English for pass the examination not using it as
their second language. Students in university generally find it difficult to maintain their interest
in English language learning as English is not seen as important for their immediate needs other
than to pass their examination. A lot of negative attitudes build up from unfamiliarity with the
culture of the target language. Malay students from small towns or rural places usually grown
up in a situation that English is unimportant language, not like their speaking homes language,
Bahasa Melayu.

Chairperson : Yes, that almost true. Ain, in your opinion, what are the other cause that
contributing to the low proficiency among graduate?
Ain : Another cause contributing to the low proficiency of the graduated is they are not utilizing
the facilities provided which are mostly in English. For example, although almost every school
or university has access to technology such as internet, students are not motivated to use it
because of the wide use of English medium as instruction. At home, wide use of mother tongue
and watching English programmes with subtitles do not help them to improve their
communication. Besides, students find the materials in English medium difficult to
comprehend, thus hampering them from using it. According to Brown some foreign language
teachers intentionally carry a strong foreign accent in their speech and teaching manners to
assert their national identity. The teacher could not handle standard English appropriately and
sufficiently. It is a fact that identity crisis is detrimental to second language learning and its

MC : There are two great ways to learn English outside of the classroom: individual activities
and social activities. These two ways are helpful in improving listening, reading, writing and
speaking skills.

Ain : First, we may be alone and need to learn English by ourselves. There are some activities
that are helpful and allow us to improve our reading, writing, and listening. In our daily life, it is
really common to read the newspaper and magazines, which can let us stay informed about our
political and social environment and also to familiarize ourselves with news words. After school,
it is necessary for us to review our class lessons at home. In order to strengthen our writing
skills, writing a diary in English not only records our daily experiences but also reinforces this
skill. Sending SMS, mail and Facebook text in English is also another way to increase our
understanding of English. Additionally, listening indeed plays an important role in our progress.
When we feel upset or stressed, music can be an effective way to relieve the pressure; of
course we cant ignore the benefits of listening to music as another way to learn. The words in
the music can help a lot in the learning of English. Different kinds of music use different words,
for example the words in pop music are always used in the slang of the local young people. At
the same time, the lyrics in classic music or in romantic songs are usually formal. As well as on
the radio, it may sometimes be difficult to catch what the host says when they are speaking
really fast. We need to use our patience and listen to them again and again to polish our skills.

Mida : iGeneration students dislike the traditional classroom teaching and learning method
because they have grown up in an environment which is information and communication rich,
team-based, achievement-oriented, visually based, and instantly responsive. Because of this,
students belonging to this generation have different expectations when it comes to how
lessons are conducted in the classroom. Therefore, to ensure that the students would be able
to follow the English lesson successfully, and to prevent them from becoming bored and
unmotivated to learn English, instructors should take the time to learn about the characteristics
of this iGeneration and design their lessons to address the specific needs of their learners. By
doing so, students may become more interested and engaged in following the language

Chairperson : When tabling Budget 2015, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced
that beginning next year, the general condition for student intake to the IPTA of at least Band 1
in MUET would be raised. What are the significant value from those planning?

Mida : The general condition for student intake to the IPTA of at least Band 1 in MUET would
be raised so as to increase their self-confidence and skills to communicate in the English
language. More importantly, if we are serious about moving away from being a low-wage
economy, moving up the value chain and competing for foreign investments, we can no longer
live in cozy land and pretend we can still go global without English. Apart from the low-wage
advantage, Philippines and India are the preferred choice of business outsourcing destination
mainly because of the workforces high proficiency in English. Innovative products will be hard
to implement and sell if we still stutter during marketing presentations. Similar can be said of
the sales of sophisticated and technical products, which have a limited local market.

Ekyn : We need to ensure that our graduates are proficient in the English language. In
Cyberjaya, 300 students of local IPTA (public institutions of higher learning) had been called for
interviews by multi-national institutions only seven passed as the rest could not converse well
in English. This is one of the reasons why we need to raise the band scores. The Employers
Association of Malaysia also said something must be done so that graduates of local universities
could have a better command of English not just being able to write, but also able to speak it
fluently. It is an issue to the whole country, not just at university level. Therefore, we decided to
raise the qualification. If you enter the university with Band 2, after a couple of years, we
expect you to go up to Band 3.

Chairperson : as conclusion, the role of English in our lives has got much importance. English
may be a foreign language, but it is international in its significance.It is taken as a lingua France,
the common language, for all parts of the world today. The importance of English language in

our lives is as firstly, it is spoken, read or understood in most parts of the world. Due to this
language, we can belong to whole world as well as to our own country.