Universitas Kristen Indonesia
… to boost Indonesian English proficiency, competent English teachers is critically required. This means English education is becoming one of the most prospective careers.
English today is not only the main means of international communication but also the most important language for economic, scientific, and innovation development. One of the most important contributors of economic development is trade. Haq and Luqman (2014) study analyzing the data-set of nine Asian countries, over the period of 1972–2012 revealed that in these countries, international trade improves the accumulation of human capital and contributes to economic growth positively through human capital accumulation, and the language used in most global trade is English. This is in line with research results revealing that the English skills of a country correlates with its economic performance. A country’s English proficiency increase correlated with its per ca-pita income growth. On the individual level, English proficiency also raised personal income. Reports of recruiters and HR managers around the globe showed that job seekers with extraordinary English got 30-50% percent higher salaries than their country’s level (McCormick, 2013).
English proficiency also highly affects knowledge and scientific development because the majority of scientific journals are published in English than in any other language. Ammon (2012) found more than 90 % of the natural sciences indexed scientific articles is published in English. It seems that researchers wishing to communicate their results to the global scientific community have no other option than to publish their articles in English. Consequently, the countries and researchers with high level of English proficiency have the advantage to access and use research findings.
Innovation highly depends a person’s or team’s ability to connect or access necessary global information networks and cooperates with others having the relevant skills. In today’s world, the best option to create the connection is by using English. Tran (2015) reports that countries with high English proficiency, compared to those with lower English skills, expend a significantly larger share of their GDP on research and development (R&D), tend to have more researchers and technicians per ca-pita, and exports high technology products like computers and scientific instruments. English proficiency essentially multiplies the opportunities for innovators to connect with the necessary ideas and people to create original work.
The discussions above reveal that today high English proficiency is contributes significantly to a nation’s and individual development and prosperity. Unfortunately, the study conducted by EF EPI every year since 2011 reveals that Indonesian English proficiency in 2014, 2015 and 2016 was in the category of “moderate” (52.5-57.49) and “low” (48.5—52.49) in 2017 and 2018. Indonesian English proficiency is far lower than Malaysia which consistently has “high” English proficiency (57.5-62.49) since 2014. Indonesia has even much lower proficiency in English than Singapore which had “high” proficiency in 2014 and 2015 and “very high” (≥ 62.5) in 2016, 2017 and 2018 (see Table 1).
To enhance Indonesian English proficiency, ensuring English learning and teaching in all levels of schools successful is one the most effective ways. To achieve that goal, various factors need to be considered, including students’ language aptitude, attitude, cognitive style, personality, previous experience and learning strategies. In addition, funding, proper infrastructure and equipment should also be and provided. However, research showed that effective teachers are the most important factor contributing to student achievement (McCaffrey et.al., 2003; Rowan, Correnti & Miller, 2002). Thus, to boost Indonesian English proficiency, competent English teachers is critically required. This means English education is becoming one of the most prospective careers. Hopefully, present graduates of high school won’t miss the great opportunity.
Ammon, U. 2010. The hegemony of English. In World Social Science Report. Knowledge Divides. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 154 f. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/shs/wssr.
Haq, M. and Luqman, M. (2014). The contribution of international trade to economic growth through human capital accumulation: Evidence from nine Asian countries. , Cogent Economics & Finance, 2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2014.947000
McCaffrey, J. R. et.al. (2003). Evaluating value added models for teacher accountability [Monograph]. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG158.pdf
McCormick, C. (2013). Countries with Better English Have Better Economies. Harvard Business review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/11/countries-with-better-english-have-better-economies.
Rowan, B., Correnti, R., & Miller, R. J. (2002). What large-scale survey research tells us about teacher effects on student achievement: Insights from the Prospects study of elementary schools. Teachers College Record, 104, 1525-1567.
Tran (2015). Countries with High English Proficiency Are More Innovative. Harvard Business review. https://hbr.org/2015/11/countries-with-high-english-proficiency-are-more-innovative