US open to partnerships on English programmes

Symbolic launch: Kagan and Mohd Arifin cutting ribbons to open the American Green Corner at the state library in Tanjung Aru. With them is Sabah State Library director Fatimah Abdillah (right).

KOTA KINABALU: The United States is always open to discussing partnerships with Malaysia to implement English teaching programmes, but they should be tailored to the specific needs of Malaysians, says US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D. Kagan.

He said the strong bond between the United States and Malaysia has resulted in numerous successful programmes in the past, such as the English Teaching Assistant (ETA) course.

“It is fair to say a lot of people raise this with me, but as for now we don’t have a plan yet. What we are trying to do is figure out what people want and what we can do.

“We have existing programmes and a lot of exchange programmes,” he told reporters here yesterday, according to Bernama.

“We have English programmes, premier programmes like ETA, but that was stopped due to Covid-19. I think we recognise that there is interest in that, we want to see what we can do.

“I think the key is that we need to speak candidly with each other about what we want and what we can do.

“Anything we undertake must be a genuine partnership between our two countries,” he said after launching the American Green Corner at the state library in Tanjung Aru.

The launch was officiated by Sabah Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently raised the prospects of Singapore sending volunteers to teach English in certain parts of Malaysia.

Mohd Arifin, meanwhile, highlighted how Sabah has benefited from the US-Malaysia English teaching programmes and expressed hope that the ETA course could be revived, especially for students in rural areas.

“It is highly beneficial for our children in Sabah as we prioritise the development of English, science, and technology.

“Their expertise as native speakers of the language can greatly assist us in this endeavour,” he said.

In addition to English, Mohd Arifin hopes the United States can assist in programmes that foster interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

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Sabah , English , US Ambassador , Malaysia-US


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