Framework needed to get Iban language taught in school

Sunday July 29, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/29/sarawak/11752115&sec=sarawak

KUCHNG: A strong framework is needed to enable the Iban language to be widely taught in school in the state and also throughout the country.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang said the development of the language within the education system started relatively late, so the results would not materialise over a short period of time.

“We need more capable and qualified teachers to conduct more classes at all levels, even pre-schools,” he told reporters after officiating at a dialogue on Iban language development in school here yesterday.

“The language has been recognised by the Education Ministry as a school subject between the late 80s and early 90s.

“In order to make the teaching of the language a success, we need a framework upon which we can build the syllabus, as well as improve the competency of the teachers.”

There are currently 20 students who are about to complete their Iban Language Studies Minor Programme at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Perak.

These students, the first batch to undertake the programme, have only one more semester to go before they become qualified teachers.

There are 71 new students enrolled in the programme.

“A total of 25 students are in their post graduate studies while 46 are in their diploma studies,” said Jabu, while pointing out that some of the students were not Ibans.

At Rajang Teachers Training Institute, 24 students enrolled into its Iban language five-year degree course last year.

“When they graduated, they would teach the language. In June this year, the institute had 20 intakes for the course.

“We will continuously explore the potential of the course in other teachers training institutes,” said Jabu.

Earlier during the dialogue, Jabu said to date there were about 71,000 school students taking up Iban language studies in the state.

“This shows the language is widely accepted. This is a good thing as we encourage our children to be as multi-lingual as they possibly can.

“Initiatives are also given to those who have succeeded,” he said.

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