State intervention necessary to improve English proficiency — CM

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (right) launching the Sarawak English Language Symposium.

KUCHING, OCT 23: The state government has to intervene and assist the Ministry of Education to improve the level of English language proficiency in the state as the standard is obviously declining.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said despite the many initiatives by the Ministry of Education to improve the standard of English amongst students in Sarawakian schools, the general consensus of the public, especially employers, is that proficiency in the language is declining.

“One of the constraints is that the budget allocated is often insufficient because of the wide geographic distribution of schools and the remote location of many of these schools in Sarawak.”

Speaking to more than a thousand English teachers from across the state at the opening of the ‘Sarawak English Language Symposium’, Abang Johari said the state government could intervene by supporting the Education Department in critical areas.

This includes training teachers not only to be more proficient in the language but also to become more creative and innovative.


Additionally, the state could also provide teaching and learning resources and support extra-curricular activities which encourage students to use the language such as debates, drama presentations, elocution contests, and essay competitions.

This three-day symposium organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research is also an example of what the state can do to assist the department.

“The outcome of this symposium would help us to chart our programs and initiatives. I also sincerely hope that the deliberations in this symposium will arouse interest, inspire and empower the participants of this symposium to become more passionate about their roles and bring significant improvements in the proficiency of our students in English,” he said.

Abang Johari also stressed that the state government will maintain the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s policy to use English as the official language, as agreed under Malaysia Agreement 1963, and to ensure that Sarawakians are always proficient in the language. — DayakDaily