Pass in English to be compulsory for public varsity grads

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CYBERJAYA: English would be made a compulsory pass subject for public university students before they graduate, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Announcing the new policy decision, Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said that while the education system was based on the Malay language with English as the second language, the job market demands that university graduates be able to communicate in English in order to secure a job.

“Prior to this, at university level, English was made the subject the students have to take. Now, they not just have to take the subject, they have to pass it,” said Muhyiddin at the launch of Cyberjaya Graduate Employability Enabler 2 (CGEE2) programme yesterday.

Commenting on the three-month CGEE2 programme, he said that if it could convert public university graduates from being shy in nature and lacking in confidence into people who can interact freely, there was more that could be done by the ministry at the university level.

“We should make sure that when they leave universities, they can communicate in English, besides Bahasa [Malaysia]. For this, we are making English a compulsory subject to pass. This is a new policy decision I am announcing today (yesterday),” Muhyiddin said.

He added that he had discussed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week on the need to train graduates to communicate in English, Malay and other languages.

However, Muhyiddin did not furnish further details on the implementation of the policy.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 3, 2014.