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It's about time that English teachers taught English!

We are students of public schools and face major problems studying proper and advanced English due to inefficient and inadequate curricula, unqualified and unprofessional teachers and our inability to apply what we learn.

First, we study simple English, like appearance, personalities and so on, things private school pupils study in grade three or four.

We don't have to study grammar because we are not going to be tested in the monthly quizzes by teachers or final exams, unified by the Education Ministry.

Imagine students, who are about to study all-in-English advanced books in university, are only studying the basics and simple English in high school. It is not just a problem, it's a disaster.

Secondly, we are being taught by inefficient teachers, who are non-English. Why?

The English teachers are mostly Egyptians and have a serious problem pronouncing English words properly! It's the way they speak! I don't have any problem, but who's paying the price?

Almost all public school teachers only know about the lesson or the book we study and can't answer any other English-related questions because they don't know!

The most irritating problem is that they speak Arabic in the English class! For instance, they read questions written in English and communicate with students in Arabic. Why? And then they say students don't know English!

How are we supposed to prepare for TOEFL, IELTS and SAT or learn advanced vocabulary and use it in our lives when we don't know the basics? How are we supposed to help Bahrain prosper when we are not accepted in universities due to our weak English? Has anyone thought about it?

As an illustration, we receive our final exam papers, including listening questions. We read them and know what to focus on when listening to the tape. They are multiple-choice questions and have one-word answers or for us to decide if sentences below are false or true!

For God's sake, how are we supposed to take notes in university when professors talk unstoppably and only say it once? How are we supposed to take notes during long, factual listening in TOEFL where our speaking and writing tasks depend on fully comprehending the questions? It's impossible.

Consequentially, most Bahrainis graduated from government schools face problem acclimatising to advanced English curricula in their universities and to understand what professors lecture about.

I won't be exaggerating if I say it causes unemployment. Nowadays who will hire an employee who is weak in English - the global language and most important requirement in work?

I suggest the ministry hire expert English teachers, especially in high schools, like private schools do.

And they should teach advanced curricula such as Oxford books instead of the inefficient ones we study. They should also take more interest in English.

It's a letter from a student with 97.4 CGPA, who was a private school student for four years.

I wrote it from my experience, seeking a better education for a better Bahrain. I hope the ministry will respond open-mindedly.

Ali Al Mubarak

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Mar 8, 2012
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