Spoken English is dependent on the learning environment: PAGE

PETALING JAYA: The embarrassing gaffe in an English education video by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) is unsurprising as how a person speaks is largely dependent on the learning environment.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) president Datin Noor Azima Abdul Rahim said most students learn English in an environment where it is not commonly used, making it difficult to pick up the finer details of the language.

"It's tough because in a national school the environment is largely Malay. You are normally influenced by the way the people around you speak.

"In a Malay, Chinese, or Indian environment, English is learned as a single subject with only a few hours a week and this carries on into adulthood," Noor Azima told theSun when contacted.

She was commenting on a UiTM English on the Go video posted last week where the narrator correctly taught the audience that "salmon" is pronounced with a silent "L" but then falls short by pronouncing it as "see-men".

Netizens mercilessly poked fun at the mistake but Noor Azima, who chuckled when the video is mentioned, called for more diplomacy and said it is a good effort by UiTM, and said perhaps they should have double checked before posting it.

She said this is why PAGE consistently advocated for the learning of English through other subjects in school and is happy that Education Ministry is offering Dual-Language Programmes (DLP) to schools that apply.

Noor Azima urged parents who wishes for their children to be fluent in English in the future to enrol them in DLP as soon as possible.

"Parents should go for this if the feel like English is important. These kids in UiTM obviously did not have the privilege of enrolling in DLP," she said, adding that children should start learning English and other languages as early as possible.

DLP started as a pilot project in the 2016 school year involving 296 schools and an additional 875 schools have adopted the programme for the 2017 school year.

The programme will allow students to learn Science, Mathematics and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects fully in English.