English is more than just a school subject

Perspectives

Students at government schools in Myanmar study English as a school subject, but it is a subject they are able to pass simply by correctly answering the questions set by their teachers instead of by demonstrating fluency in the language. As a result, they cannot use the language properly. While some of them may be able to read and write a little, they are not able to speak and understand the spoken language. This is because they learn only what is in their textbooks and they do not have the opportunity to use the spoken language in their classrooms.
English is one of the major languages that students need to master in order to participate in academic, business, and cultural exchanges.
It has been over a decade since international schools were permitted to set up branches or local entrepreneurs were allowed to open schools with curricula from countries such as the US, Britain, Australia, Singapore and the like. Students who study English there are more fluent than those at government schools because the former have the opportunity to study English as a language.
For Myanmar, English was once considered by linguists to be a second language about 50 years ago but it has been a foreign language
for decades.
Now, teachers are being trained at education colleges and institutes of educations across the country to teach English effectively with the assistance of the British Council.Taking advantage of this programme, teachers should try to teach English to students as a language again. Such training programmes should also be expanded with the help of other countries.

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