DBNA bent on promoting the Bidayuh language, especially in schools

Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong

KUCHING, August 11: Dayak National Bidayuh Association (DBNA) has embarked on a noble mission — stitch the Bidayuh language into the `Curriculum Bahasa Ethnics’.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said the effort had gotten off the ground with the introduction of Bidayuh as a medium of instruction in six primary schools – SK Gahat Mawang and SK St Alban in Serian, SK St Elizabeth Tijirak and SK St Paul Benuk (Padawan), as well as SK Jagoi and SK Apar (Bau).

Manyin said indigenous languages in the state needed to be preserved and promoted as they were sliding into oblivion due to modern lifestyles and migration factors.

“The other Sarawak indigenous languages, such as Iban, have written materials in their languages and they are already integrated into the national curriculum. We would like to do the same for the Bidayuh, so we will see how we can work with the Education Ministry on this,” he told DayakDaily.

Earlier today, at the 7th Bidayuh Cultural Symposium 2018, he said the Iban language had been standardised and offered as a school subject. However, doing the same for the Bidayuh language might take more work due to regional variations in Bidayuh dialects.

Manyin also touched on the need to have more Bidayuh folktales as teaching materials for teachers. Since there are multiple Bidayuh communities in the state, the folklores that are handed down from generations to generations are also distinctly different from each other.

“We should preserve these folktales that have been handed down through oral tradition. We need to collect and write them down for our younger generations in order to preserve the good tradition of living in harmony,” said Manyin. — DayakDaily