Rural pupils learn English with Azam Sarawak

MIRI: Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak continues its effort to boost rural students’ confidence in learning and using the English language.

In its latest endeavour, Azam held a one-day ‘Azam Rural School Motivation and Community Outreach Programme’ in Niah here yesterday.

The event, which was held in collaboration with Subis District Office and supported by Faradale Holdings, also saw the participation of Azam members, Azam Toastmasters Club and youth volunteer group Azam Young Souls.

“Today’s outreach programme for students as well as parents are in line with the state government’s objectives to enhance English language standard in Sarawak, and to promote science, technology, engineering and math (Stem) and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as part of our effort toward achieving a digital economy that is a new reality to us,” said Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) permanent secretary Datuk William Patrick Nyigor at the event’s opening ceremony.

William officiates at the “Azam Rural School Motivation and Community Outreach Programme”.

William, who is also Azam Sarawak deputy chairman, said

it is estimated that 90 per cent of jobs in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) would focus in engineering and science. Thus, the Sarawak government through MESTR is focusing on Stem and English.

“An important segment of IR4.0 is expected to be in the disciplinary areas such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business administration and computer science.

“In the digital economy era, students must acquire self-study skills to remain relevant in this time of rapid change,” he said, adding a survey by W3Techs in Mar 2018 cited about 54 per cent (5.4 million) of the 10 million web sites were written in English, while websites in Indonesian Malay spanned 0.3 per cent (30,000 pages).

Students take part in exercises to boost their confidence and interest in learning the English language.

“This goes to show why we need to add English language fluency to students’ skill sets,” he said.

A total of 170 students from Primary Four to Six, and 45 participants from Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) of SK Batu Niah, SK Rancangan Sepupok and SK Tanjung Berlipat, took part in the programme.

Lo gives a motivational talk on being a successful student in the era of the digital economy.

Among the highlighted sessions were a motivational talk titled “Being a successful student in the era of Digital Economy” by Azam member Telemachus Lo; interactive sessions with the students to boost their confidence to learn and use the English language, and a panel session with the PTA titled “PTA contributions to 21st Century Education”.

The panel session moderated by Azam board member Sharkawi Yassin featured key speakers from Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (Tegas) chief operating officer Awangku Merali Pengiran Mohamed, SK Batu Niah PTA chairman Sebastian Janting Takin, and SK Batu Niah headmaster Abdul Rashid Yaakub.

William hands over the book donations to SK Rancangan Sepupok headmaster, Hudson Anthony.

The event also saw Azam donating about 500 new and pre-loved English language books to be divided among schools involved in the programme as part of the organisation’s initiatives to educate young students to read, learn and master the English language.

The first book donation drive commenced in early February and was the result of generous donations from all those involved in yesterday’s programme and MyBookstore Sdn Bhd.