KUCHING: Sarawak is “quite liberal” in its language policy because it realises the importance of English as the global language of science and technology, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Without a good command of English, the Chief Minister said, it would be difficult to understand what was going on in the world, especially in the Industry 4.0 era.
“This 4.0 era is all about technology, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence. And this is the way for us to move forward in all industries.
“In every facet of industrial development, we need basic knowledge that will drive our economy forward.
“Realising that, Sarawak is therefore quite liberal in terms of language command and we encourage our students to master English, besides our national language,” Abang Johari said when presenting Petronas sponsorship awards to 149 Sarawakian students here.
He also said Sarawak was taking up Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s challenge to teach Mathematics and Science in English.
“The federal Education Minister came here and he told me that it would be difficult to implement this in peninsular Malaysia because of politicking.
“I told the minister that Sarawak will take up the challenge,” he said.
Sarawak will start teaching both subjects in English for Year One pupils next year.
On the sponsorship awards, the Chief Minister said Petronas’ partnership with the state would help prepare students for the challenges ahead.
Petronas chairman Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh said the educational sponsorship initiatives were in line with the state government’s aspirations to improve the quality of education and develop a skilled workforce.
Of the 149 recipients, 44 with outstanding SPM results received awards under the flagship Petronas education sponsorship programme to pursue degree programmes at Universiti Teknologi Petronas and overseas.
Another 54 students received sponsorship under the vocational institutions sponsorship and training assistance (Vista) programme while 51 were awarded scholarships under the Budi-Petronas programme to study at Mara Junior Science Colleges in Sarawak.
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