KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Poor English proficiency has led over 1,000 medical graduates to quit their ambitions to become doctors, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Malacca chapter president Prof Dr M. Nachiappan said.
According to The Star today, Dr Nachiappan said this is even though the graduates have completed their two-year housemanship in public hospitals.
“The main reason was poor grasp of English. This is not good for the medical fraternity and does not augur well for the nation if stakeholders do not execute some plans to improve the standard of English,” he was quoted saying in the English daily’s report today.
Other factors, he said, included the graduates’ lack of interest in medical training, their poor relationship skills with patients and their frustrations over working conditions.
He also said that their poor command of the English language made it difficult for the trainee doctors to keep up with their peers.
“There must be an urgency to improve the grasp of the language at the primary level. Otherwise, the quality of doctors will go downhill,” said Dr Nachiappan, who is also deputy dean of the Melaka Manipal Medical College.
He added that schools were also finding it hard to produce medical graduates of quality due to their lack of exposure to English from an early age.
He pointed out that most reference books on medicine, as well as lectures, are conducted in English.
“The quality of our students is compromised due to their inabilities to communicate in English,” he was quoted saying.
Parent groups have been lobbying the government to reintroduce the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), a policy introduced in 2003 but discontinued seven years later.
English-language lobbyist such as the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE) continue to push for the return of — or at least the option for parents to choose — the discontinued policy that they contend was needed to improve the mastery of English as well as technical subjects.
The Education Ministry recently made it mandatory for students sitting for the SPM to pass the English language examination beginning 2016.