THE ABILITY to understand, speak, communicate and write effectively is essential if one wants to move ahead of others. And one of the keys is mastering and being proficient in English to keep abreast with the world’s development says ExxonMobil Terengganu Crude Oil Terminal oil movement supervisor Kamarudin Puteh.
Kamaruddin was at SMK Tengku Intan Zaharah in Dungun, Terengganu, last month to launch ExxonMobil’s sponsorship of 40,000 copies of The Star newspaper worth RM25,000 to 54 schools in Penang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Terengganu including SMK Tengku Intan Zaharah.
The schools receive copies of the newspaper every Wednesday. Representatives from SM Sains Dungun, SMK Paka, SMK Sultan Omar and SM Teknik Dungun were also present.
This is the third year ExxonMobiI is a sponsor in the Star-NiE (Newspaper in Education) Sponsorship Scheme.
Kamaruddin says ExxonMobil has a long tradition of supporting the community through various programmes and their sponsorship reflects “our support for the government's efforts to improve English proficiency in schools.”
He adds that the newspaper is such an important learning medium. “It has the potential to educate and cultivate students in many creative ways.
“Students are able to develop ideas for their stories, improve their grammar and enrich their vocabulary.”
SMK Tengku Intan Zaharah principal Zakariah Ali, thanked ExxonMobil and Star-NiE for helping to promote the use of creative learning in schools. He said: “Your concern and contribution are highly appreciated.”
About 40 students from SMK Tengku Zaharah got their first taste of learning English using The Star, when Star-NiE co-ordinator Harkiranjit Kaur led a NiE session.
The students were asked to look for a person with a certain pose in the newspaper and come up, in five steps, instructions to give a model. It was challenging as well as fun because the students had to come up with clear and concise instructions for their models.
At the end of the session, the students tested their instructions on the participants.
“NiE is not only about fun and games. This activity is about learning grammar implicitly. There are many other ways to use the newspaper creatively to teach,” said Harkiranjit, adding that listening skills were also an important element in this activity.
Also present was the Dungun district education department language unit officer Nazri Latiff who hopes the teachers would take the knowledge gained back to school and put into practice. Otherwise, the effort put in will only go to waste, he says.
SMK Tengku Zaharah teacher Azizah Mohd Nor says she could not wait to see how a NiE lesson was conducted and was not disappointed with the demonstration of a NiE lesson at all.
In a related event held at Menara Star recently, ExxonMobil Productions Projects general manager Hareesh Pillai presented The Star’s group chief editor Datuk Wong Sulong with a cheque for RM25,000 in a Star-NiE Sponsorship Scheme presentation ceremony.
Under the scheme, free newspapers have been distributed to schools over the past eight years since the beginning of The Star’s NiE programme.
Pillai is confident that the Star-NiE programme can help students tremendously not only in language building, but also in shaping their values and in increasing their general knowledge.