KUCHING: Early exposure and practise is pivotal to improve English competency among graduates, said Chuah Kee Man, a lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas)’s Faculty of Language and Communication.
To hold and enhance graduates’ proficiency in English, Chuah suggested intensifying the dual-language programme in school, which would encourage greater use of the English language among students.
“The enhancement of the English language usage in schools can be implemented in programmes such as in the teaching of Islamic and moral subjects and fortifying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
“It would be a bit too late if they were to wait until they’ve reached university level to start thinking about improving their proficiency in English, although it is not impossible to achieve,” he told New Sarawak Tribune today (Sept 23), commenting on the long overdue graduates’ English incompetency issue.
He further said that intensive English courses should be conducted in a series, especially at university level, to ensure students who are weak in the language will be able to meet the proficiency level before graduating.
“This may sound unpopular, but having this as a rule would spur university students to take the English language seriously and put more efforts to increase their proficiency,” he said.
Pointing out the differences between language competence and communicative competence, Chuah said that constantly boosting human capital skills in the English language would be best to address the issue.
“Some graduates may have good knowledge of the language but still could not communicate well as they lack the necessary communication skills.
“For this group of students, they can be trained at a pre-employment course or targeted companies or organisations.
“This measure would allow them to get first-hand opportunity to improve their communicative abilities,” he added.
Last Tuesday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg expressed concern on the English incompetency among graduates in Sarawak.
He said that even though the state has talented graduates, the incompetency in the English language has caused them to be less employable.
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