MIRI, April 11: To boost English language learning and fluency in rural schools, Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak held a one-day `Azam Rural School Motivation and Community Outreach Programme’ in Niah here today.
The event, which was held in collaboration with the Subis District Office and supported by Faradale Holdings, also included the participation of Azam members, Azam Toastmasters Club and youth volunteer group Azam Young Souls.
“Today’s outreach programme for students as well parents are in line with the Sarawak government’s objectives to enhance English language standards in Sarawak and to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) as part of our need to achieve a digital economy that is a new reality to us,” said Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) Permanent Secretary Datu William Patrick Nyigor, who officiated at the outreach programme’s opening ceremony.
“It is estimated that 90 per cent of jobs in IR4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution) will focus on engineering and science. Thus, the Sarawak government through MESTR will be focusing on STEM and English.
“An important segment of IR4.0 is expected to be in disciplinary areas such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business administration and computer science.
“In the digital economy era, students must acquire self-study skills to remain relevant in this time of rapid change,” he said, adding that a survey by W3Techs in March 2018 found that about 54 per cent (5.4 million) of the 10 million web sites were written in English, while websites in Indonesian Malay spanned 0.3 per cent (30,000 pages), emphasising the need to add English language fluency to students’ skill sets.
A total of 170 students from Primary Four to Six, and 45 participants from the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) of SK Batu Niah, SK Rancangan Sepupok and SK Tanjung Berlipat took part in this programme, which was aimed to boost rural students’ confidence in learning and using the English language.
Among the highlights were a motivational talk for the students titled `Being a successful student in the era of Digital Economy’ by Azam member Telemachus Lo, interactive sessions with the students to boost their confidence to learn and use the English language, and a panel session with the PTA groups titled `PTA contributions to 21 Century Education’.
The panel session moderated by Azam board member Sharkawi Yassin featured key speakers from Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (Tegas) chief operating officer Awangku Merali Pengiran Mohamed, SK Batu Niah PTA chairman Sebastian Janting Takin and SK Batu Niah headmaster Abdul Rashid Yaakub.
During the programme, Azam donated about 500 new and pre-loved English language books to be divided among schools involved in this programme as part of the organisation’s initiative to educate young students to read, learn and master the English language.
The first book donation drive commenced in early February, and it was the result of generous donations from Azam members, Azam Toastmasters Club, Azam Young Souls, the staff of Azam and MyBookstore Sdn Bhd. — DayakDaily