State to host English language education symposium this month

Manyin (third left), Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry Permanent Secretary Datuk Sudarsono Osman (second left) and Assistant Director of State Education Department Rahaya Ahmad (fourth left) at a press conference on Sarawak English Language Education Symposium 2017 which will be held from Oct 23 to 25.

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KUCHING, Oct 20: The Sarawak English Language Education Symposium (SELES) 2017 will be held from Oct 23 to 25 at Pullman Hotel as one of the measures to address the declining English proficiency in the state.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said the symposium will be held based on the rationale of bridging curriculum with classroom practices and to reach out to the community beyond educational institutions to create an environment where the English language flourishes without threatening the survival of local indigenous languages.

Manyin said in a press conference today that the symposium aims to address the general perception that standards or proficiency in the English language has been on the decline.

He said even though there is no empirical data to prove that English proficiency is declining, the fact that some university graduates struggle to produce letters without mistakes was proof on its own.

In addition, the English language is the lingua franca of the world as well as the language of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). For Sarawak to leapfrog from Industrial Revolution 2.0 to 4.0, it is a necessity to improve the general standard of English proficiency among Sarawakians.

Manyin said the objectives of the three-day event is to bring together academics, language practitioners and various stakeholders and members of the community involved with various aspects of the English Language Education in Sarawak.

It is also aimed at encouraging greater co-operation between stakeholders such as curriculum and policy makers, academics and researchers, teachers, educators and various members of the community to be involved in various English language initiatives in Sarawak.

The event will also provide a platform for sharing and discussion of recent international and local innovations, trends and concerns as well as challenges and solutions encountered in the field of English Language Education.

The target groups for the symposium, according to Manyin, includes academics from UiTM (Universiti Technologi Mara), UNIMAS (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak), Swinburne University, Kuching Polytechnic, Matriculation College Sarawak, Batu Lintang Teachers’ Training College and Tun Abdul Razak Teachers’ Training College.

As many as 900 teachers and educators from 31 education districts and 200 stakeholders such as Shell, Petronas, Sarawak Energy and various parent-teacher associations will be attending.

Speakers for the symposium will include John Yeo, deputy principal of Singapore Institute of Management; Professor Charles Hopkins, UNESCO chair at York Universtiy of Toronto; Kal Joffres, CEO of Tandemic, an innovation lab based in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and others. — DayakDaily