A stepping stone to success
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.