KUCHING: Sarawak would like the British Council’s English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP) to be extended beyond September this year, when it is due to end.
Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, who oversees education matters, said the continuation and expansion of the project to more areas would benefit English language teachers and students in the state.
“I’m optimistic that the ELTDP has had a positive impact on English teachers. I understand that our local teachers have shown a high level of professionalism and commitment in working alongside their mentors from the British Council.
“I’m sure their skills have been sharpened and their confidence has increased. This is good progress for us. The teachers are bringing in more fun activities and creative lessons to their classes, changing the perception of students that English is difficult to learn,” she said.
As such, she hoped the Education Ministry would review the extension of the programme after September.
The ELTDP, which comes under the ministry’s Projek Penutur Jati Bahasa Inggeris programme, employs 120 mentors who work with about 2,000 teachers in 600 primary schools in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan.
The project involves one-on-one mentoring to help teachers explore and reflect on their own professional practice and develop new approaches for themselves.
It commenced in 2011 and Phase One ended in September 2013, after which the project was extended for another two years until this September.
Fatimah, who was closing the three-day ELTDP Symposium here last week, said the schools and teachers involved in the project should make full use of the opportunity to learn and improve their English teaching skills.
“The teaching of English is more challenging now. Teachers have to put in more thought and effort to get students to enjoy learning English,” she said.
She also noted that the project mentors were not only posted to schools in towns and cities but remote areas such as Lubok Antu, Kapit, Marudi and Song.
She hoped that more rural areas would be covered by the project as schools in these areas needed the most help.
Over 300 teachers, mentors, education officers and British Council staff attended the symposium, which was themed “Keeping it Going: Sustaining Professional Growth”.
Nismah Asaad, a teacher at SK Bukit Quoin in Tawau, said attending the symposium helped to enhance her professional development.
“It has been a valuable experience. I would like to thank the mentors for not giving up on us, for pushing us on and making us part of this memorable experience,” she said.
Noor Syakira Isahak, a new teacher who was posted to SK Sungai Durin in Sibu last April, said the symposium was the highlight of her 10-month teaching career so far.
“I’ve been inspired by how other teachers overcome difficulties with creative ideas and dedication. I hope everyone will leave the symposium as excited and inspired as I am to keep it going.”