The following is the coverage by The Borneo Post on the prize-giving on 10th September, 2011 at 9:00am at Premier Hotel, Sibu:
Local English teachers get help from foreign experts Posted on September 11, 2011, Sunday
SIMPLY THE BEST: Lau (second right) handing over a certificate to Catholic High School team while Wong (right), Dr Hu (back row, third right) and others look on.
SIBU: Foreign English language experts and consultants are already moving around primary schools in town, helping local teachers elevate the standard of English.
This was revealed by Sibu Divisional education officer Wong Chung Kung yesterday, saying these native speakers of English Language engaged by the Education Ministry hail from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and others. “These experts will start from primary schools here, and it is hoped that with their expert guidance, the standard of English will improve tremendously, beginning from primary school level,” Wong said in his speech at an English Essay Writing Competition 2011 at Premier Hotel here.
The competition was jointly organised by Sarawak Australian Graduates Association, central region (Saga) and The Borneo Post, supported by Sibu Education Department.
In this regard, he called on teachers to give their fullest cooperation to these foreign teachers and consultants in the quest to uplift the standard of English among students in the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted by Bernama recently as saying the Education Ministry would hire 370 foreign English language experts from 2011 to monitor the teaching of the language in Malaysian schools.
He was also quoted to have said the recruitment was in line with the implementation of the government’s policy of upholding the Malay language and strengthening use of the English language (MBMMBI) for Year 1 pupils from next year.
Wong while acknowledging the importance of the English Language, said the ministry despite replacing the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), would continue to place strong emphasis on the language.
He explained that MBMMBI was never meant to diminish the importance of English Language. “When we stop PPSMI, and come up with MBMMBI, we still continue to place strong emphasis on English. For that reason, foreign English teachers and consultants were engaged to help elevate the standard of English,” he said. Turning to the students, he advised them to read widely, noting that newspaper was an ideal source of information.
He said while it was important to focus on subject matter, it was equally crucial to have a sound general knowledge. “So I urge parents to encourage their children to read newspapers to attain knowledge and not be contented with having mastered the subject matter for Physics, Chemistry and so on,” he suggested.
He added that reading newspapers would go a long way to help improve students’ communication skills.
Wong noted that many straight-A students were let down by poor communication skills during interviews.
“In essay writing, we can express ourselves freely and let our ideas flow. Having done that, we need to arrange our points together, making them presentable to readers.
“In essence, we are communicating to our readers through our essays,” he said, adding that essay writing was among the effective ways to improve communication skills among students.
Meanwhile, in the junior form category (Form 1 – 3), Renee Ngu Chu Chen from SMK Tung Hua emerged winner, taking home a cash prize of RM150, certificate and one year’s free subscription of The Borneo Post.
Phoebe Ting Bi Jia of SMK Methodist came in second followed by Annie Tiong Ci (SMK Tung Hua).
In the senior form category (Form 4 – 5), Brandon Ling Kie Chai of SMK Methodist grabbed the top post, followed by Marina Khadijah Wanli (SMK Methodist) and Kimberly Hii Wen Fei (SMK Tung Hua).
In the junior team category, SMK Methodist came in first, followed by SMK Tung Hua and SMK St Elizabeth. SMK Sacred Heart and Catholic High School shared the top spot for the senior team category while SMK Tung Hua settled for third placing.
Among those present were Saga chairman Temenggong Vincent Lau, vice-chairman Dr Hu Chang Hock, secretary Tony Hii, academic officer from Sibu Education Department, Yong Swee Wah; SMK Methodist principal Yong Choo Tiong, See Hua marketing manager Kueh Nguan Seng and The Borneo Post Sibu branch manager Lawrence Ling.