PETALING JAYA: The recent call by the Prime Minister for top civil servants to sit for English competency tests once again highlights the importance of the lingua franca.
Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the Government is taking a step in the right direction.
“However, before we talk about top civil servants sitting for English competency tests, I think it is important to start with the younger generation.
“Schools are where we need to seriously build a good language foundation,” he said.
Lee said this at Menara Star after presenting a mock cheque for RM30,000 as sponsorship for Step Up pullouts to Star Media Group editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh.
The English education pullout, which comes with a copy of The Star newspaper, will benefit 60 selected schools across the country.
The 24-page colourful resource Step Up features Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia translations of difficult English words.
“Education has always been a priority to Eco World Foundation since its inception in 2014,” he added.
This is the third time that the foundation has stepped in with the sponsorship.
Lee said: “We have decided to invest in education because education is of primary importance to the development of the future generation.
“We feel Step Up is a very good programme for pupils, especially those from underprivileged families and who are poor in English literacy.
“With this sponsorship, pupils can learn new vocabulary with Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia translations besides gaining knowledge from stories and articles in the newspaper.”
Lee stressed the importance of English.
“English is an international language and it is important for our students to master it.
“The faster and easier way to learn is through newspaper reading. I sincerely hope that the newspaper will be put to good use,” he said.
He added that The Star’s NiE (Newspaper-in-Education) and Step Up pullouts help to provide opportunities for schools to encourage a reading culture.
“One way to improve language is to read as much as possible. By making The Star newspaper available to pupils, this will provide an avenue for them to read more.
“Nowadays, youngsters seldom read. By working together with The Star, we hope to do our part in supporting a very good cause – that is to help pupils in national and Chinese primary schools acquire a good command of English,” he said.
“We also hope that teachers will give time and attention to encourage pupils to read. Teachers have a role to play to help pupils to acquire a good command of the language,” he said.
For details on The Star’s NiE school sponsorship programme, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1300 88 7827 from Monday to Friday (9am–5pm).