An insult to test competent English teachers

THE The furor over the Malaysian Academic English Test (MUET) from the National Union of the Teaching Profession and Teachers is concerning. I would say that the Ministry of Education is sincere in its efforts to address the issue of the proficiency level of English teachers. However, there are too many flaws or shortcomings in this noble effort.

First of all, why MUTE? Why not APTIS (an English test administered by the British Council) which was used with some success a few years ago to weed out teachers who lacked the desired skill. There were undoubtedly issues with how it was administered and attempts to manipulate the results by some officers in the district and state education departments, but overall it was a a comprehensive three-hour International English test covering the four essential components of learning English. .

MUTE, on the other hand, is a locally built test. Although not an issue, the scoring of the test and how the speaking and listening components are going to be assessed can be controversial issues.

As things stand, MUET markers/evaluators are teachers themselves. And it is common knowledge that these evaluators/markers are not specifically selected. Most of the time they are voluntary or forced to grade/evaluate simply because they are teaching English at Form Six. I know this for myself because I was teaching Form Six and became a grader/evaluator (not necessarily by choice)

This brings us to the question of the validity of the marking. Just because a teacher no longer teaches in a sixth grade school by choice, they no longer become a scorer/evaluator, and to add insult to injury, they must now also pass the MUTE and be evaluated by someone who may not have the required skill.

Second, the logistics of administering the test to over 100,000 English teachers is bewildering. Besides the timeliness of markers/evaluators, there are issues of location, time and availability of teachers. As things stand, teachers attend countless classes throughout the teaching year, so one can imagine the chaotic situation in schools as more of them drop out. education to pass the test.

Third, asking every English teacher to sign up for MUET is like saying they are all incompetent and not proficient in English. This amounts to a parody of all the university degrees (local and foreign) awarded to them.

There are undoubtedly genuine cases of English teachers deemed insufficient or incompetent, but requiring everyone to sit down for MUTE to weed out these incompetents is nonsense and a waste of time and money.

The ministry, under the pretext of budget constraints, wants teachers to pay RM100 each to take the test. It’s yet another insult to injury for teachers who are competent and don’t demand the test.

Lim Seng Leong

Penang