I'm sure we all remember the issue which was brought up by our DPM a few days ago regarding English being made a must pass paper for the SPM. From the feedback, many quarters are against making the subject compulsory. I'm positive most of them are parents who feel that it is not a necessity. I wonder if they know what their children would be losing out and have they asked their children's opinion about it in the first place?
It might not be important for them but what about their children's future? Will they be able to compete with others at the international level? From what I see English will still be the international language for many years to come unless of course, everyone starts speaking Mandarin or any other language overnight and English is deemed not important anymore.
Furthermore, books and all other printed materials for colleges and higher learning institutions in Malaysia are printed in English, especially the imported ones. So, if children do not start taking English seriously from young, they will be having a hard time in future when they further their studies at higher learning institutions. The only way to help them will be by making English a must pass subject. It will be difficult initially, but if they realize the importance of the subject, I am sure they will put in the extra effort to learn and master the language.
The same thing happened with the learning of Maths and Science in English. After the initial glitches, we see the results. The first batch of students have done relatively well in these two subjects. They preferred to answer their exam questions in English even though the Bahasa Malaysia version was given. This shows something, doesn't it? Here, we have our previous PM to thank for his insight and farsightedness.
However, if there is going to be a change in the teaching of English in this country, then a lot of research and planning have to be done first. It will take time. It's all right as long as we see positive results for our children's future. We want our future leaders to be at par, if not better than other leaders internationally.
Learning grammar is important. We need to know how the language works, so we need to start from the basics. The same goes when learning Bahasa Malaysia or any other language. We need to learn the grammar part of it too. Once we get the hang of it, everything falls into place. We just need to have the right attitude and approach. So, no matter what others might say, I personally feel that we should take English seriously and that it should be made compulsory in the SPM to entitle one to a certificate.