KOTA KINABALU: Residents of Pulau Gaya island near here can now look forward to raising children with better English speaking skills.
Simon Featherstone browsing through a book sitting with some of the pupils of SK Pulau Gaya after handing over the last batch of books under the ‘Power of Reading’ programme. Pic by Zunnur Al Shafiq
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In a programme aimed at improving proficiency in the language by providing books, the British Council has picked SK Pulau Gaya, about 10 minutes by boat from here, as one of the recipients of the programme.
The project is under the council’s “Power of Reading” programme where some 30,000 books were distributed to schools in East Malaysia.
British High Commissioner Simon Featherstone handed over the last set of 20 English books to the primary school yesterday.
With that, a total of 1,600 books have been shipped to SK Pulau Gaya since a month ago.
SK Pulau Gaya has also benefited under the council’s bigger agenda — the English Language Teacher Development Programme (ELTDP), where a mentor has been coaching nine English teachers there since January last year.
The project, which is in line with the Education Ministry’s Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening English (MBMMBI) programme, aims to enhance the effectiveness of local teachers teaching English.
“It is to support teachers to develop their own practice so they can take ownership of their own classrooms and fit the context in which they work,” said Featherstone.
Featherstone said based on a preliminary evaluation on the nationwide programme by an independent body, there was growing evidence that the use of English in and outside the classroom had increased following its implementation.
It also noted that through the ELTDP, parents have been motivated to engaged more in their children’s school activities.
Jasli Awang, 31, a father of two pupils, said it was important for the children to learn English as foreign tourists frequented the island.
“We want to reshape their notion of Pulau Gaya, so learning English is crucial,” said Jasli.
Rukayah Beloq, 37, said she and several others realised the importance of learning English to ensure their children do not fall behind.
“That is why we are willing to spend time with the English teachers a few times a week so we too know how to lead our children in grasping the language,” she said.
A pupil, Nurhidayu Mansil, said she found using English in daily life easier due to the conducive environment.
The 11-year-old said her grammar use to be weak before but has since improved since the programme.
“I feel more prepared to face the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examinations next year,” she said.
Along with help from the ministry, the British Council has provided mentoring and coaching to more than a thousand English teachers in 500 schools in East Malaysia.
“We have about 60 mentors in Sabah and 60 mentors in Sarawak since last year after MBMMBI was introduced,” said Featherstone.
Read more: English books boost for Pulau Gaya children – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/english-books-boost-for-pulau-gaya-children-1.161835?cache=03D163D03edding-pred-1.1176%2F%3FpFpentwage63Dp%3A%2Fhe3D03Dn63Frea-rti3D19.3D163D03edding-pred-1.1176%2F%3FpFpentwag%3Fkey%3DMalaysia%3Fpage%3D0#ixzz2AJfGq5ja