Sarawak to move on at improving English proficiency of its schoolchildren

Dr Annuar Rapaee (File pix)
12/07/2022 05:25 PM

SIBU, July 12 (Bernama) -- Sarawak will move on and ignore the hoo-ha on its decision to use the English language, alongside Bahasa Malaysia in its administration, says its Deputy Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development, Dr Annuar Rapaee.

He said the state government, in fact, had been going all out to ensure its students would be well-versed in the language to enable them to excel in their studies and have a bright future.

“If they don’t like English, let them be but for us, we are moving on with our efforts to improve English proficiency among our students,” he told reporters after presenting the Student Activity Books and Learning Aid to nine schools in the Nangka state constituency, here, today.

This was part of the initiatives that Dr Annuar had taken as the Nangka assemblyman in collaboration with a local education foundation, Farley Foundation, to obtain 1,000 books to meet the needs of primary school children from 22 longhouses in his constituency.

“These books are suitable for that age but focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) such as about the galaxy, animals and plants which cost not more that RM20 each,” he said.

Dr Annuar explained that about 100 books would be kept at each longhouse for a period of three months and thereafter, would be rotated among the longhouses involved.

Stressing that reading is important for one to gain knowledge, he hoped the effort would help inculcate a a reading habit among pupils at the longhouses.

“In three to five years’ time, they can become excellent students. But the question now is how to ensure that they would read the books provided for them?

“There must be a way to record the data on how many books the students read to ensure the effectiveness of the reading programme.

“I’ll talk to my IT assistants on how to record the data. We will probably create an application for it as data is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness of the programme,” he added.

Apart from the reading programme, his service centre has resumed the free tuition classes for pupils at the longhouses involved, which were halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four times a week tuition classes at the longhouses’ communal space called ‘ruai start at 6.30 pm and end at 9pm with the longhouse chiefs monitoring the pupils’ attendance.