Kenyah woman gives free English lessons to longhouse kids

Umie (standing, fourth from left) teaching rural children English during a lesson.

A Kenyah woman has started a free mobile English clinic for primary school pupils in the Bakun Resettlement Scheme in Sungai Asap in Belaga, Sibu.

Umie Liau, who is also chairperson of Kenyah Uma Baha Women’s Association Sibu, aims to improve the children’s command of the English language.

She firmly believes that it is only through education that these rural communities can upgrade their standard of living.

“Education is also the only way to bring transformation to our community here. It is the reason I am giving these free English lessons to the children, ” she added.

Umie has 21 pupils from Year 1 to Year 5 and they are from the Uma Baha Longhouse.

She hopes to teach children from the other 15 longhouses in the area in the future.

“The children need to improve their mastery of the language.

“For a start, I am teaching them phonetics before guiding them in writing, ” she said.

The children are receiving lessons as a group using the same

syllabus as “their command of the language is almost at the same level.”

Each lesson lasts for about 90 minutes and class is conducted when she has free time.

“I started giving lessons two months ago with a small group of pupils.

“The number swelled as the children here are very enthusiastic about learning, ” said Umie.

However, she has to set a limit on the number of children for each lesson so that she is able to manage them.

Besides teaching English, she also instructs the pupils on the proper usage of face masks amid the Covid-19 pandemic. — By ANDY CHUA

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