Baru Bian: Steps must be taken to boost students’ English

baru-bian-studentPETALING JAYA: Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian has hailed the initiative to improve the level of English among students in the state, saying many other measures must be taken to ensure its success.

In a statement today, he said it was encouraging that Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin Jawong was now addressing the matter as he had raised it several times before in the state assembly.

Baru said for the initiative to work, the principals, teachers and parent-teacher associations must all be involved and committed.

“I think that once there is commitment and determination in all parties involved, implementation will be easier. Attitudes and mind-sets play a key role here,” he said.

Baru said the ministry must also ensure that teachers are proficient in English as they had a major role to play in the initiative.

“Those who are less fluent must be encouraged to take steps to improve themselves and the ministry should provide the means for them to do so.”

He said he had also proposed other steps to making English a main language in the state, such as reintroducing the teaching of English through radio broadcasts and rehiring retired English teachers.

Other measures included inviting volunteer English teachers from the Peace Corps, which he said had been requested by some parent groups in his constituency.

He also pointed out that no budget allocation for the initiative had been given to the state’s elected representatives, and expressed hope that allocations would be made to the schools for this purpose.

Baru said ever since he was elected in 2011, he had regularly distributed English language storybooks to the schools in his constituency, adding that the total number of books distributed was estimated to be around 10,000 by now.

“The importance of reading cannot be overemphasised, and I would say that it is equally important as speaking English. Books are where we learn our vocabulary and where we are exposed to ideas and learning,” he said.

“The horizon is expanded for those who have a good grasp of the English language, and we must all do our part to ensure that our younger generation are given all the help to acquire such proficiency.”