PETALING JAYA: Having English-medium schools would provide an enormous, positive impact to students in particular, and society in general, especially with the advancement of science and technology, which widely uses English as the medium of instruction. Supporting the establishment of English-medium schools in Malaysia, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) founder and head Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Muhriz, also known as Tunku Abidin, said Malaysia could gradually change from the current system of education. When asked if Malaysians are ready to change to English-medium instruction, Tunku Abidin said: “Not wholesale, but incrementally, yes.” Despite his support for English-medium schools, he said that he would not necessarily insist that it be the only type of school available to Malaysian children. “English-medium schools have the potential to bring enormous positive impacts to students and society at large, particularly in technical subjects which rely heavily on the use of English jargons, or in professional sectors in which work is internationally conducted in English,” he told theSun today. The Negri Sembilan prince also pointed out that apart from ensuring that all Malaysians can speak Malay, English and at least one other language, it is essential that schools teach our common history, without which there can be no shared destiny. “It is essential that schools teach … the supremacy of our constitution and the institutions of our nation, and what it means to be a citizen,” Tunku Abidin said. Ideas had, on May 15, called for the government to ramp up the quality of teachers today, urging that underperforming teachers be removed immediately. This is following the release of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s ranking of schools performances across 76 countries in which Malaysia is ranked at 52, well behind some of its neighbours in the region. Ideas CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said that Malaysia should ensure that all 15-year-olds have basic skills in Mathematics, adding that the first step would be to move away from the current education policies and aim at bringing in new approaches to education. He said that the fact that the government said that even underperforming teachers can remain in the system for up to three years, “it is enough time to destroy the future of thousands of children”.