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Education Ministry urged to rethink Muet for English teachers

The Education Ministry has been urged to come up with a special assessment system to test teachers' English language proficiency, instead of sitting for the Malaysian University English Test (Muet).

Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) president S Ganakumaran said this assessment should be comprehensive and continuous.

“There could be in-class assessments, their usage of the language in preparing lessons, making assessments (exam papers) and others... you have to look at the use of the language in the professional situation," he told Bernama.

“Muet is not a valid system or method to find out the English language proficiency of a teacher. We have to use another system."

Previously, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) had protested the proposal for English teachers to sit for the Muet, and urged the ministry to conduct a comprehensive study to find the real cause behind the poor command of English among students.

This follows a circular from Education Department director-general Amin Senin that English teachers have to sit for the Muet to determine their proficiency in the language, in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

According to the circular, all English language-option teachers must have a minimum C1 qualification from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

As Ganakumaran said, however, if teachers are required to sit for Muet, the results cannot be the benchmark for their proficiency in English.

“Muet is not a test of a teacher’s English language proficiency, it is a test for students about to enter university, and the focus is on academic skills that they have to possess in university.

“There are teachers who are not proficient (in English) but are good at teaching, and they will find unique ways to teach. 

"This is why there are many who feel that although being proficient in the language is important, it is not important in improving professionalism. There are other things to look at,” he said.

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