The Malaysian Education minister recently revealed that two-thirds of the English teachers in the country were either “incapable” or “unfit” to teach in schools.
Following the revelation there’s been a lot of soul searching in the country as to where the blame lies and what can be done about it.
On one side the teachers themselves are being blamed. Reports of appalling grammar, barely recognizable English, and poor reading skills are emerging every day.
On the other side, the whole system is being blamed. Why give teaching licences to these teachers in the first place? What exactly is the ministry going to do about it? Sending the teachers on courses overseas is one suggestion but that is seen as a knee-jerk reaction which will achieve little in the long run.
Other commentators are talking about the need to bring over more native English speakers. While this is a long term approach it is by far the best option: some of the students of native speaking English teachers will become the English teachers of tomorrow and along with proper licensing and real commitment on the part of the administration this is the only way to go.
So if you are a qualified native speaking English teacher, think about Malaysia as it is going to be a growing market and one worth exploring in the near future!
An editorial blog by our Asian TEFL expert, Judy Kim.
Teaching English in Malaysia – an overview of TEFL in Malaysia and how to work there