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English teachers upset over directive to retake Muet

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Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR — May 15, 2019: English teachers are up in arms over a recent directive that compels them to retake the Malaysian University English Test (Muet), at their own expense by December this year.

They believed that the directive by the Education Ministry was ridiculous because Muet is a test for university students and that many of them had already sat for it when they were completing their tertiary education.

“I think my degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) is enough to prove that I am qualified to be an English teacher,” wrote Elya Dayana from Mersing on the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) Facebook wall.

Another teacher, Ahlam Muna echoed the same argument.

“I have a TEYL (Teaching English to Young Learners) and a masters degree in TESL. I am done proving myself. If the ministry thinks I am not qualified enough to teach this subject, I would like to change my option,” wrote Ahlam.

The directive for teachers to retake Muet made headlines four days ago but at that time Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said that it will only affect non-English language teachers who were assigned to be interim English language teachers.

However, an April 14 circular, signed by Education Ministry director general Datuk Dr Amin Senin, revealed otherwise. English language teachers were also required to retake Muet in order to have their proficiency evaluated.

Similar to Elya, the English language teachers who commented at NUTP’s Facebook wall, disagreed with the ministry’s decision with some arguing that Muet was meant for university students and not teachers.

“Muet is meant for one particular age group, the test is not meant for adults. I do not agree with allowing my teaching proficiency to be determined by placement tests such as Muet,” wrote Vikrama from Damansara.

“I refuse to sit for Muet again as I have scored C1 in my CPT (Cambridge Placement Test). Waste of time and energy. I am not going to pay myself to sit for Muet again. Sorry,” wrote Yoke Ling Wong.

“We have prepare exam questions and mark it. After that we also have to key in the results of pupils. Why must we be asked to sit for Muet again? Allow us to do what we were trained for. Give us reading materials, dictionaries and other teaching tools instead,” wrote Fid Ismail.

Last week, NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan, who had also spoken against the directive, pointed out that assigning non-English language option teachers as English teachers was not a viable solution to improve students’ proficiency of the language.

The main problem in increasing students’ mastery of English, said Tan, was the lack of English teachers in schools.

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Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]