English proficiency scheme a double incentive

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 November, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the letter 'English proficiency scheme leaves questions unanswered' (Education Post, October 20) and wish to clarify a few points.

The Advanced English Proficiency Programme (AEPP) for government teachers is a two-pronged initiative that aims to promote language enhancement and facilitate career advancement for those who have already met the basic language proficiency requirement. It is therefore an incentive and not a discriminatory measure to put pressure on any type of teacher as claimed in the letter.

The second misunderstanding concerns the alleged 'rush' in which the programme has been introduced.

Much energy and time has been expended on the new language policy and its various related programmes to ensure teachers are not merely awarded a proficiency level but rewarded with a satisfying learning experience. All training programmes offered, including advanced ones, are the result of hard work by dedicated parties, among them trusted professional members of the Vetting Committee on Language Proficiency Training Courses. The committee's unique composition plus the stringent vetting procedure should quell doubts about the quality of any authorised training programme.

Of course, these schemes are in no way to be confused with and compared to degree programmes, though as a result of the Government's efforts to encourage continuous learning, the former can well lead to the latter.

The AEPP, though intensive, provides extensive coverage of the essential components of the English Paper and involves workshops strategically couched between preliminary training sessions and the last evening session during which review or final assessments are undertaken.

While training greatly enhances learning, results largely depend on individual effort and capability. The AEPP does not guarantee attainment of Level 4 for all.

It does guarantee, however, quality training and fair assessment leading to the award of proficiency levels truly reflective of trainees' performance and standards.


for Director of Education