A step­ping stone to suc­cess

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION -

tHE col­lec­tive na­tional anx­i­ety over the con­tin­ued de­cline in our pro­fi­ciency in the English lan­guage continues to oc­cupy both main­stream and so­cial me­dia.

We all know there are prob­lems with the sys­tem. The govern­ment’s Ed­u­ca­tion Blue­print seeks to ad­dress these prob­lems, but pos­i­tive re­sults will take time to ma­te­ri­alise.

In the mean­time, par­ents and the pri­vate sec­tor must work to­gether to en­sure that Malaysian stu­dents are able not only to ac­cess high-qual­ity English lan­guage cour­ses but are given the right tools to ex­cel.

At Cam­bridge, ex­celling is not just be­ing able to an­swer mul­ti­ple-choice ques­tions, but also about re­cep­tion and pro­duc­tion.

Re­cep­tion refers to lis­ten­ing and read­ing with un­der­stand­ing and gain­ing the abil­ity to an­a­lyse what is writ­ten or spo­ken.

Pro­duc­tion refers to be­ing able to speak and write clearly and ef­fi­ciently so that the in­tended mean­ing is com­mu­ni­cated ef­fec­tively.

For the last 13 years, Cam­bridge English for Life (CEFL) has been at the fore­front of help­ing Malaysian stu­dents.

Clearly, the best chance of suc­cess de­pends on start­ing early. CEFL of­fers cour­ses for a wide range of ages and abil­ity lev­els start­ing from chil­dren as young as four.

Ju­nior English (JE) is of­fered at two lev­els for preschool­ers while Young Learn­ers English (YLE) for pri­mary school stu­dents has six lev­els, which lead to Cam­bridge English Lan­guage As­sess­ment ex­am­i­na­tions.

CEFL has a num­ber of sec­ondary level cour­ses de­signed to teach and as­sess stu­dents’ com­mand of English that are ideal for prepa­ra­tion for higher ed­u­ca­tion. Place­ment tests al­low stu­dents to be placed in a class that matches their abil­ity level to op­ti­mise learn­ing.

The Up­per Main Suite cer­tifi­cates are recog­nised as English lan­guage en­trance qual­i­fi­ca­tions by uni­ver­si­ties world­wide.

A pass in one of these ex­am­i­na­tions – FCE (First Cer­tifi­cate Exam), CAE (Cam­bridge Ad­vanced Exam) or CPE (Cam­bridge Pro­fi­ciency Exam) – means the stu­dent has achieved a level of pro­fi­ciency in English that is pro­gres­sively closer to the level of an ed­u­cated na­tive speaker.

CAE and CPE are now recog­nised by over 13,500 uni­ver­si­ties, em­ploy­ers and govern­ment agencies around the world as ev­i­dence of pro­fi­ciency.

For de­tails of who ac­cepts the Cam­bridge course, check the univer­sity web­site ( http:// www.cam­bridgeenglish.org/recog­ni­tion).

For stu­dents with a spe­cific re­quire­ment for univer­sity ad­mis­sion such as IELTS, CEFL also of­fers IELTS prepa­ra­tion cour­ses over both 80 hours and 30 hours. The longer course is for those who still have to de­velop their lan­guage pro­fi­ciency while the shorter pro­gramme is de­signed specif­i­cally as an ex­am­i­na­tion prepa­ra­tion course.

Stu­dents should take the IELTS pro­fi­ciency test to de­ter­mine which is the most ap­pro­pri­ate for them.

At the end of both pro­grammes, stu­dents should be ready for one of the reg­u­lar IELTS tests. Stu­dents may con­sult cen­tre staff on where to take the IELTS test.

All the ma­te­ri­als pro­vided and used in CEFL classes are sourced from the United King­dom. They are specif­i­cally de­signed to en­sure stu­dents not only have high-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als to re­fer to but also gain a broad cul­tural ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

When work­ing to­wards de­vel­op­ing lan­guage pro­fi­ciency (par­tic­u­larly for higher ed­u­ca­tion) this is a skill that is too of­ten ne­glected.

It is a short­com­ing that can lead Malaysian stu­dents to strug­gle in uni­ver­si­ties over­seas as they may mis­un­der­stand some of the sub­tleties and nu­ances of the lan­guage.

Whether stu­dents are seek­ing fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, im­prov­ing em­ploy­ment prospects or want­ing an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised qual­i­fi­ca­tion, en­rolling on a CEFL course is the first step to achiev­ing those goals.

For fur­ther de­tails or to find a CEFL cen­tre near you, log on to www.cam­bridge­for­life.org, e-mail info@ cam­bridge­for­life.org or call 03-7883 0912.

Cam­bridge English for Life of­fers cour­ses for a wide range of ages and abil­ity lev­els.

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