Graduates Finds It Hard To Land Jobs Due To Language Deficiency: Tun M
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took the debate on the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English a notch higher when he said it was a shame that local graduates are often unable to get jobs due to their poor command of the language.
The former prime minister said these graduates had good academic credentials but were let down by a lack of proficiency in English.
"Many of those who are jobless are not so because they do not have the paper qualifications, but because they have not mastered the language (English), especially in the fields of science and technology. And this is a shame, especially if they were good students in school," he said today when opening a conference entitled "Teacher Education in the Muslim World" organised by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
A long time proponent of teaching the two subjects in English, Mahathir said the government should do this as Malaysia will otherwise not be able to keep up with the progress in technology, where English is the "language of industry".
"I am a Malay, and I love my language too. But we have to be realistic. Manuals, guidebooks and instructions of complex procedures are done in English. New technologies and new products are being introduced all the time and all these are in English. We do not have the capacity to translate everything," he said.
He said Malay language nationalists may think that nationalism is about being able to speak the national language well.
"That is wrong. Nationalism is about becoming successful in all fields of life, being able to contribute towards the growth and the development of your country and your race. Being able to stand tall ... that is true nationalism."
Meanwhile, Mahathir also raised the question of whether moral and religious studies in Malaysia were adequate in the light of rising corruption, petty theft and serious crimes.
"We are constantly being asked to legislate new laws and increase the punishment for all kinds of crimes. It seems like the education system has not succeeded in producing the kind of law-abiding citizens that we hoped for. Even if they don't break the law, they do not have good work ethics," he said.
He said that a value system has to be integrated into these subjects, to be able to produce people who not only have sound knowledge, but also possess a good value base.