JOHOR BARU: Teacher M. Kaleymani studied in a Tamil school but always felt that she needed to pick up Mandarin, as she saw the importance of the language, especially in getting a job.
The 35-year-old then decided to learn the language on her own and is now advocating the importance of learning Mandarin to students and working adults.
“I know of people with degrees and master but when they go looking for a job in Singapore or in sales, they do not get it because they do not know Mandarin.
“That is why I am advocating for students to start picking up the language at a young age, ” said Kaleymani, who is the principal of Score A Global Academy & MK United International Institute Sdn Bhd in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah.
She added that she usually does one-day free courses for school students to get them involved in the basics of Mandarin, including how to greet people or even order food.
“I feel that learning Mandarin will give students an advantage especially in the business world, ” she said, adding that she also does introductory to Mandarin courses for government servants and the private sector.
Kaleymani, who is affectionately known as Teacher Preeti among her students, added that it was a proud moment for her when she saw her autistic student ordering food at a Chinese restaurant.
She added that the teenager was not focused on his education in school because of his condition so his parents decided to enrol him at the centre late last year, hoping to help him cope with his lessons.
“He decided to take a few subjects, including Mandarin, and within a couple of months, we can see positive changes taking place.
“The boy has become very confident and been getting good results in his examination in school, ” she said, adding that they have about five autistic children at the centre.
“I want to dispel the thinking that children can only pick up Mandarin at a Chinese school.
“I have taught many students from Malay and Tamil schools, ” she added.
She said the centre currently had about 200 students from different ages, including working adults.
The centre has about 15 teachers and is registered with the state Education Department.
Kaleymani, who also does free courses in Port Dickson, hoped someday everyone in Malaysia would be able to converse in Mandarin, as language can be a tool to promote unity in the country.