Paving the way to a better future


PETALING JAYA: With the power to connect people from different cultures and nations, the English language is undoubtedly one of the languages with the highest economic value.

Being able to converse and express oneself in English opens up more doors than ever, especially when it comes to education and career-building.

As the leading English daily in the country, The Star has always been actively involved in promoting the use of the language.

Star Media Group’s latest language project, English for Better Opportunities (EBO), is a multi-level platform aimed at making immersive driven English language programmes interactive, fun and accessible to all.

This provides a platform for youths to be engaged in English language activities.

With the success of Star Media Group’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme, now in its 21st year, the media company is set on widening its English language programmes through a host of activities that include holiday camps, outdoor challenges, confidence building workshops, theatre workshops, as well as a junior movie club.

Coming together for a good cause are corporations that see EBO as an opportunity to bring the country to greater heights through education.

Magnum Cares, Magnum Group’s corporate social responsibility arm, hopes to render support to this cause that they view as necessary – to help improve the current level of English competency among students and young adults.

“EBO is a good start to help schoolgoing children and their educators,” said Magnum Group CSR head Beh Swan Swan.

“Our younger generation of Malaysians have access to a multitude of channels to showcase their talents, interests and new ideas; however they need to have a good command of English in order to present themselves better and to be able to stand out and be noticed and be considered,” said Beh.

Noticing a decline in the English language quality of fresh graduates, PPB Group Berhad hopes to provide a boost to language learning in schools where it is most needed.

“We hope to make learning English Language fun and engaging and, in the process, improve English proficiency and communication skills among our students to provide them with better job opportunities,” said the group’s corporate affairs head Koh Mei Lee.

“The workshops will enable students to tap into their creativity apart from giving them the opportunity to step up in their public speaking skills.

“For teachers, EBO provides them with more ideas to make their English classes more interesting and engaging,” she said.

Orando Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Dr Eng Wei Chun hopes that Malaysians will acquire greater knowledge and stronger language proficiency.

“There’s no such thing as a stupid student.

“It’s just whether you are using the right teaching method or not,” he said.

Dr Eng emphasised the importance of English proficiency.

“To compete in the global arena, we need to know English, whether we like it or not. It is an international language.

“With English, the world is borderless, ” said Dr Eng.

Malaysian International Furniture Fair founder and chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat said that it was more important than ever to be able to communicate in English especially in business.

“I believe English is an important international language. If our children are well-equipped in the language, they will have an advantage over others later in their lives,” he said.

These corporate companies have stepped in with subscription sponsorships as well as a variety of workshops for schools in Johor.

PPB Group Berhad has made four NiE workshops – two for students and two for teachers – possible.

Magnum Cares has contributed to three NiE workshops – two for students and one for teachers – as well as a confidence-building workshop for teenagers.

Joining in on the effort is Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd, which is partnering with Star Media Group to host three special screenings at its 16-screen GSC Paradigm Johor Baru multiplex.

The first of three movies, Christopher Robin, was held recently.

Two more movies, Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, will be screened in October and November respectively, and will be preceded by language activities and quizzes.

These screenings are exclusive to Star-NiE subscription schools.