Friday, August 07, 2009

Government taps Aussie varsity help on English

Government taps Aussie varsity help on English

PERTH: The Education Ministry will work with Edith Cowan Univer-sity to improve the English language proficiency among students and teachers.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said a memorandum of understanding would be signed soon.

“The need is urgent. We need to develop this collaboration and make it effective as soon as possible,” he told Malaysian reporters after visiting the university’s Mount Lawley campus as part of a five-day working visit here.

Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, earlier had discussions with the university’s vice-chancellor Prof Kerry O. Cox.

The university trains teachers who specialise in teaching English and the ministry wanted to learn from their experience, he said.

“We want to look at the techniques used for helping people master English and their experience in sending teachers to rural areas as Western Australia is a very large state and has many schools there.

“They also have to attract teachers to teach in rural areas and this problem is almost similar to what Malaysia is facing.”

Muhyiddin said there could be Australian techniques that Malaysia could adapt for use.

Asked when the revised English curriculum would be introduced, he said it was part of the ministry’s new strategy on “Upholding Bahasa Malaysia, Strengthening English” which would be introduced in 2012.

“But if we can start earlier, it would be better.”

Prof Cox said the university was willing to send its team of experts to help.

Muhyiddin announced last month that the ministry would reverse the teaching of Mathe-matics and Science in English to Malay.

Part of the decision entailed strengthening the English curriculum.

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