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Learning English is important and people all over the world decide to study it as a second language.

countries include English as a second language in their school syllabus and children start learning English at
a young age.

However, do you know why learning English is so important? Here are ten good reasons to take an English
language course.

1. English is the most commonly spoken language in the world. One out of five people can speak or at
least understand English!

2. English is the language of science, of aviation, computers, diplomacy, and tourism. Knowing English
increases your chances of getting a good job in a multinational company within your home country or
of finding work abroad.

3. English is the official language of 53 countries. That is a lot of people to meet and speak to.

4. English is spoken as a first language by around 400 million people around the world.

5. English is the language of the media industry. If you speak English, you wont need to rely on
translations and subtitles anymore to enjoy your favourite books, songs, films and TV shows.

6. English is also the language of the Internet. Many websites are written in English you will be able
to understand them and to take part in forums and discussions.

7. English is based on a simple alphabet and it is fairly quick and easy to learn compared to other

8. English is not only useful it gives you a lot of satisfaction. Making progress feels great. You will
enjoy learning English, if you remember that every hour you spend gets you closer to perfection.

9. Since English is spoken in so many different countries there are thousands of schools around the
world that offer programmes in English. If you speak English, therere lots of opportunities for you to
find an appropriate school and course to suit your academic needs.

10. Because its fun! By learning English, you will also learn about other cultures. Few experiences will
make you grow as a person more than learning the values, habits and way of life in a culture that is
different from yours.
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Poor English a major handicap

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PRIZE mistaken for price in corporate texts. Technicians struggling to explain to their superiors about
factory operations.

These are just a few real-life examples depicting the poor standard of English among Malaysians at work
today. And as they show, this weakness inflicts all sectors.

Many found The Stars recent report on young doctors using broken English during their consultations with
patients painful. What more the news of some 1,000 medical graduates who were forced to abandon their
dream of becoming doctors due to their poor command of English.

But as some key stakeholders are highlighting, rojak English has been the lingua franca of many sectors
and industries in the country for years.

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), for one, has frequently pointed out that the declining standard
of English is not isolated to any one sector but prevalent across industries. And, as MEF executive director
Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan laments, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire fresh graduates who can
communicate effectively in English.

The problem seems to be getting worse and is more acute among fresh graduates. Their level of proficiency
does not command the confidence of employers to hire them, he says, adding that most of them are aged
between 20 and 28.

Shamsuddin believes the main problem is that such Generation Y graduates are very technology-savvy and
are constantly on their gadgets to message one another using short forms, acronyms and slang words.

Using such tech language so frequently only adds to the problem, he says.

Although some graduates may argue that they have other skills to offer to counter their poor English,
Shamsuddin points out that being fluent in the language is still an essential skill to have and a strength that
employers look out for in employees.
In some cases, employers make do and hire the candidate with the best command in English and train them.
But in situations where we simply cannot get a suitable local candidate, companies have no choice but to
consider getting foreign talent a move that does not augur well for the country, he says.

According to Shamsuddin, there are currently about 200,000 unemployed graduates in the country and one of
the main reasons why they are out of work is due to their lack of English proficiency.

We need an immediate action plan to help these graduates become more marketable, he says, stressing that
these youths should also take the initiative to brush up on their language.

One good news is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razaks announcement that a special task force has
been set up to ensure that future graduates from local universities possess a good command of the English

Applauding this, Shamsuddin says the existing low level of proficiency among our graduates is something
that shouldnt have happened, especially in the critical sectors like medicine.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam concurs, stressing that it is
hampering Malaysias economic development.

The situation seems to be getting worse these days. In the 1980s, most school leavers could speak decent
English, he says.

Gopal Kishnam points out that many in the service industry speak in broken English even though they have
to deal with foreigners regularly.

Malaysian Medical Association past president Datuk Dr N.K.S Tharmaseelan urges for the standard of
English among doctors to be improved.

The English proficiency among newly graduating doctors is atrocious indeed. Many cannot string a
sentence properly, he said.

Dr Tharmaseelan, who is also Asia Metropolitan University president and CEO, adds:We can advance
nationally but we need to be good in the English language to be global players.