Monday, September 5, 2011

Help students learn a second language to be competitive, says PM

Teachers must help their students to attain proficiency in at least one other language besides the national language, urged Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said while Bahasa Malaysia was compulsory, he wanted students to become just as proficient in English and, if possible, one other language.

“We must speak well in Bahasa Malaysia because it is our identity.
One goal: Teachers waving the Jalur Gemilang while singing ‘Malaysia Berjaya’ during the inaugural 1Malaysia National Teachers Assembly at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Some 14,000 teachers took part in the event which was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. - NORAFIFI EHSAN / The Star

“But we need to know a second language. It is not a zero-sum game.

“If we learn a second language, it will boost our competitiveness,” he told 14,000 teachers at the inaugural 1Malaysia National Teachers Assembly at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here yesterday.

Najib also urged teachers to refrain from making their students learn through memorising answers for examinations but instead encourage them to be curious about the world around them.

“By being curious, they will be read more and look for answers to their questions.

“As individuals, they will come to value lifelong attainment of knowledge,” he said.

“I want to see the education system develop the intellect of our children and build intellectual capital. This means to grow young generations who know how to think creatively and innovatively,” he said.

At the same function, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said teachers played a crucial role in Malaysia’s goal to become a high income nation and to nurture the spirit of 1Malaysia among the students.

Myhyiddin, who is Education Minister, said he was confident the nation’s teachers were capable of instilling the values of tolerance and togetherness among the students.

“They (teachers) also have a role to play in transforming the nation into a developed one, as we need to mould holistic individuals that are knowledgable, creative and innovative to drive the new economy.

“At the same time, the ministry will do its part in ensuring that all levels of society will have equal opportunity for education, including those with special needs, the orang asli and the ethnic groups of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said .

“This is so that we can make the required adjustments to the education system to ensure that it reflects the ever-changing needs of the local and global society.”

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