Volunteer teaching English at a Chinese school in China. The program is an initiative by NGO called Project Abroad.(Photo by Project Abroad)

A native speakers of English will be paid salary of RM15,000 a month to teach the language at Malaysian schools under Education Ministry new plan.

A news report said, the government is about to award contracts for the import of 960 native speakers of English under the ministry’s plan to give equal emphasis on BM and English (MBMMBI or Memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia dan Memperkukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris).

Initially, 160 English native speakers will be made trainer-teachers spread out over six regions throughout the country (hence, the 160 x 6 formula) and act as “mentors” or “consultants”.

There will be at least 960 native English speakers hired under the proposals and they will be paid between RM8,000 and RM15,000 a month plus the usual perks given to expatriates working in the country.

“The idea, perhaps is to bring back the days when English in our schools was taught by the “mat sallehs” themselves, said Raja Zarith, patron of Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA).

“One may argue, however, that English native speakers during the colonial era had lived among the locals and understood not just their language, but also their culture, history and traditions.

“Will the imported teacher-trainers under the MBM-MBI scheme be as good?”

Raja Zarith did ask the question. “Which would be better? To have our local teachers teach it as they have done so for the past 50 years? Or to bring in native English speakers as teachers?”

“If we do bring in the native English speakers to teach our children, the authorities must mind the gap that it will inevitably create between the foreign and local teaching staff.

Unhappy teachers are the last thing this country needs.