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By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, July 2: The training of teachers to teach science and mathematics in English will begin in September, as the state prepares to roll out its implementation starting with Year One pupils next year.
Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said the programme, which is similar to the Dual Languages Programme (DLP), would be done across the board.
Over 2,600 teachers have been identified to teach science and math in English as the medium of instruction at some 1,260 primary schools across the state, he added.
The course, which will take about two weeks, will also be carried out at the teachers’ training institutes (IPGs).
The Education Ministry, which provides the budget for the training, is currently preparing the modules and finalising funds to train the trainers.
“In the previous programme, many teachers were not prepared, and we found out that more than 50 per cent of the teachers who taught math and science under the DLP was also teaching in Bahasa Malaysia.
“This time, we want to make sure all teachers will be equipped to teach the subjects in English,” Manyin told reporters after opening the 54th Education Management Conference here today.
Education director Dr Azhar Ahmad and Sarawak Secondary School Principal Association president Abang Othman Abang Masagus were present at the conference organised by the association.
Manyin added that the course would be continuous, especially for teachers who are still not confident to teach the subjects in English, upon completion of their training.
Sarawak is the first state to take up the challenge to revive the teaching of science and math in English after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reinstated the teaching of the two subjects in English.
“The biggest obstacle is to ensure sufficient and competent English-proficient teachers to teach the subject, but the idea to implement this programme is to make children more competitive and confident to speak up and express themselves in English.
“However, this is a programme, not a policy. So, we can’t force students to participate without their parent’s consent,” he said.
In this regards, Manyin urged public cooperation, especially among parents, to support the programme.
“The state Education Department has been tasked to identify schools where parents did not give consent to the teaching of math and science subjects in English.
“We will conduct an outreach programme, where the Education officers will try to convince these parents. If a parent object to this programme, it could not be implemented in that particular school,” he explained.
On a separate note, Manyin revealed that Sarawak would be the second state in the country to have a science centre after Penang.
The state will adopt the Singaporean model in the setting up of its own science centre.
He added that the science centre will have dormitory facilities with a capacity of between 100-150. This will enable students from far away places to spend the night when visiting the centre in Kuching.
“The main aim is to inculcate interest in science. The state government is currently in discussion with the Singapore Science Centre to advise on the set up,” he added. — DayakDaily