A Study in Singapore: Perceptions about the Importance of Written English Language and Undergraduates’ Competency Level

Abstract

Although there are four official languages in Singapore, English has been the language of the government and its international trade since the 1960s. The medium of instruction in the school system, from primary to secondary and post-secondary levels, has also been English. Despite indications that the standard of English in Singapore is higher than most countries in the region, there is a concern among the research team’s faculty-colleagues that undergraduates are unable to express their content knowledge appropriately and expertly in English language. This exploratory study was thus conceptualised, with an aim to examine the perceived importance of written English language and the level of competency among undergraduates in a public university in Singapore. The study involved three targeted sample units; namely, the undergraduates, faculty and industry partners, who were invited to participate in Qualtrics online questionnaires that were customised for each group. The results suggested slight differences in how undergraduates, faculty and industry partners viewed the importance of written English in academic studies and professional work. There were more notable dissimilarities among opinions held by the three parties about undergraduates’ written English competency levels, their keenness to improve, and the degree of optimism that improvement can be achieved during their university studies. The research outcomes are beneficial in providing a clearer understanding of the stakeholders’ perceptions, and highlighting how the university’s pedagogy for written English could be enhanced.



Author Information
Lee Keng Ng, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore
Boon Tien Lim, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore
Radhika Jaidev, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2020
Stream: Educational Research

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