Education Ministry introducing 'CATs' to enhance students' English proficiency

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR


PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry will introduce the Cambridge Assessment Tests (CATs), a supplementary learning method for students to enhance their English proficiency.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, said the pilot project will be carried out in the next six months and involve about 40 primary and secondary schools.

"CATs is an online programme in which students can learn English during and after school sessions.

"Our main target is to help students in rural schools, as most are weak in English and have (little) exposure to the language.

"The design for CATs is ready, but the implementation will take about six months from now to allow committee members to identify the schools where the pilot project will be run, as well as to see its effectiveness.

"The programme is expected to be fully implemented at all rural schools in one or two years’ (time)," he told reporters at a press conference today.

Mahdzir said CATs is a one-of-a-kind online programme developed by the Cambridge Malaysia Education and Development Trust (CMEDT).

He said the ministry welcomes the CMEDT in sharing strategies to further enhance English language education in Malaysia.

"Teachers will monitor the students' performance in CATs. As preparation, the teachers will be sent to English Language Training Centres to undergo training session," he said.

The ministry's English Language Training Centre director, Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar, said CATs comprises nine levels of English language proficiency.

Mohamed said the ministry will work closely with state education departments to determine which rural schools to run the CATs programme in.