Monday, 19 December 2016

UM Students, Should We Be Angry at Someone That Pointed Out That Our English Suck?

Admitting to your own weaknesses is a sign of strength, and there is nothing to be ashamed of from admitting them.

If there were any lessons that I'd learned throughout my time in PEKUMA, one of them would be to admit to your own weaknesses, flaws and mistakes, no matter how hard it is.

English proficiency among students of local universities has long been an issue discussed, and even appeared in reports and articles on why local graduates are having such a hard time getting a job and competing with their peers upon entering the workforce.

Hence, it was very interesting for me to see the reaction of students when a confession post by an anonymous confessor came out this morning, targeted primarily on the English proficiency of UM FPP and FEP students.

Majority of the students stood up against the post. Sarcasm and rage can easily be sensed on the comments, which I strongly think were expressed on impulse upon reading the post.

However, it is not of my purpose to discuss a post by an anonymous that does not have balls to express him/herself in their true identity, and rather I am purely interested at discussing on the state of English proficiency among the students particularly in UM (and focusing more on FPP and FEP).
The problem with English proficiency among local university students is not an issue that grew overnight, but rather a deeply rooted bad habit and culture.
In UM, I believe it is not hard to notice slides-reading among students during a presentation, serious grammatical errors in reports and presentations and most noticeably, lack of confidence when conversing in English.
All of these bad habits and culture among UM students have brought up to an obvious flaw in terms of English proficiency among students, and even worse, the negligence of students towards this issue albeit knowing the problem with them.
My time running UM Economics Society (PEKUMA) had led me and my team to realize how this deeply rooted problem could potentially impact the growth of the society in terms of human capital development and competency of our faculty's graduates in long term, and we had worked hard to improve the state of English proficiency among our students, namely the usage of English during PEKUMA meetings, events and activities, and training workshops to enhance the communication and writing skills for the team.
So the question is, should we be angry of an anonymous confessor that reminded us of our flaw that we have long known but yet chosen not to recognize, or should we start to admit the problem that exists before us and take necessary steps to improve the situation?
Jack Ma once said,

"If you are born poor it is not your fault, but if you are  still poor at 35, then it is your fault."

Inspired from this quote, here is one that goes like this:

If your English suck when you entered university it is not your fault because our education system screwed us hard.

But if your English still suck when you graduate from university, then the fault is on you.

Dear friends and society leaders, do not allow our ego to cloud our view on the existing problem, but let's recognize our weaknesses and work together to improve the situation. In long run, everyone benefits.

Cheers and may the force be with us for the finals!