Proficiency in English takes time

Proficiency in English takes time
R. Manirajan

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 18, 2006): Efforts are being made to improve proficiency in the English language of public university lecturers but this is not something that can be achieved overnight, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today.

“Many of the new generation of lecturers are educated in the Malay medium of instruction, unlike universities like UIA (International Islamic University Malaysia),” he told reporters after opening the university’s National Career Carnival 2006.

He was asked to comment on recent news reports, including the statement by Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, that many lecturers in public universities lacked proficency in the English language.

Najib said the government could conduct language enrichment programmes for these lecturers but noted that “it can’t be done overnight”.

“This is a transition period for the lecturers and at the same time, we do not want to see a decline in the learning of the Bahasa Malaysia language among them,” he said.

During the press conference, Najib declined to comment on the objection, raised by some MPs and Umno Supreme Council members, to the proposed merger of Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd and The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd (NSTP).

“I will talk about it when the time comes,” he said.

At the opening of the career carnival earlier, Najib reminded undergraduates to equip themselves with the right qualification, skills and attitude to ensure their employment upon graduation.

According to Bernama, he called on them to explore the possibility of self-employment and not to be overly dependent on the government for jobs.

“If you have the right qualification, right skills and attitude, you will find jobs anywhere (including outside Malaysia).

“And do not ever have the notion or thinking that the government or the country owes us a job. This mindset has to change,” Najib said.

He also urged them to constantly improve their skills.

“Getting a degree today is not enough. If you are a doctor, don’t just be a general practitioner, be a specialist and do not just think of mere knowledge or mediocrity but to be the best,” he added.

Commenting on unemployment among graduates, the deputy prime minister said the Cabinet had directed the Public Services Department to expedite the process of filling the 32,000 vacancies in the public sector with graduates.

However, he pointed out that this alone would not be enough to solve the unemployment problem among graduates, and said they should also look to the private sector for jobs.

Najib also said the government had provided a number of funds to encourage Malaysians to start their own businesses either locally or overseas.

“Self employment is a big domain and I do not think we have explored it fully,” he said.

Updated: 07:49PM Mon, 18 Dec 2006

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