STU suggests more locals be trained as English teachers

Posted on September 7, 2012, Friday

by Peter Boon, reporters@theborneopost.com.

William Ghani Bina

SIBU: More locals should be trained as English teachers to cover more areas in the state and ensure that rural students get the opportunity to learn the language.

While lauding the move by the US government to deploy an English teaching specialist to Sarawak, Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) president William Ghani Bina said training more locals to teach the language would help the government meet the long term objective of having sufficient number of such educationists in the state.

“We are all for such initiative but STU suggests that more local teachers be trained to teach the language instead as a long term measure to elevate the standard of English among students and ensure steady supply of such expertise.

“This among others, include exposing local teachers to more workshops to hone their skills in the teaching of the language,” Ghani told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.

He was reacting to a statement by US Ambassador to Malaysia Paul W Jones that the US government would be sending an English teaching specialist to Sarawak next week to work with local secondary school teachers and students on enhancing their English teaching proficiency in keeping with the voluntary spirit of the Peace Corps.

On the initiative, he opined that it would go a long way in helping teachers improve their skills in teaching the language while enabling students to master it.

Meanwhile, educationalist cum businessman Felician Teo said the proposed move was one of several initiatives implemented to improve the teaching of English in our local schools.

He noted there were now 50 English Language Teaching Assistant (ETA) volunteers posted in Terengganu, Pahang and Johor under an American project sponsored by the US government and Fullbright that started in 2010.

“In Sarawak, under the funding of the Ministry of Education, the British Council has been undertaking the
English Language Teacher Development Project across 600 primary schools in East Malaysia based on the new National Primary English Language Curriculum since 2011.

“A parallel training programme called “fellows mentoring” for teacher trainers of English language teachers at the IPGs or teacher training colleges is also in progress. Both projects will run until 2013,” Teo noted.

He said all these programmes were aimed at providing a sustainable development and support system for Malaysian teachers of English.

He also disclosed that a similar but more holistic school enhancement project sponsored by Khazanah was being piloted in 14 government schools in Sarawak and Johor.

“The short and long term outcomes of these initiatives have yet to be measured but certainly our local schools have been inundated with an influx of English native speakers, much like the bygone days of the American Peace Corps volunteers some 30-40 years ago,” Teo concluded.

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