SEBUYAU: Assistant Minister of Rural Development Datuk Julaihi Narawi has called on teachers serving in schools in Sebuyau to fully utilise the newspapers provided to them as a tool to improve English proficiency among the students.

He said the dwindling standard of English among rural students was quite worrying and must be addressed by teachers, particularly those teaching the subject.

“It is a known fact that the standard of English in rural schools is poor and weak, and schools in Sebuyau is no exception, so I am taking the initiative to the use newspaper (The Borneo Post) as an alternative solution to improve the proficiency of the language (English),” he said at the launching of Newspaper in Education (NIE) programme DUN Sebuyau, at SMK Sebuyau on Wednesday.

He explained that the project was part of his contribution from the minor rural project (MRP) fund to improve the standard of English among students in Sebuyau schools.

Sebuyau, a rural constituency is taking the lead in using newpapers as a teaching tool in the classroom, an effort spearheaded by its assemblyman Julaihi.

On March 16, Julaihi led a group of teachers for a one-day workshop in Crown Towers, and subsequently tied up a partnership with See Hua Group to provide The Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo, to all 22 secondary and primary schools in the constituency.

Julaihi, who is Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion), said English was a prominent and important universal language, stressing that the younger generation of non-English speaking countries were putting great emphasis on the language.

“While Bahasa Malaysia will remain our national language, we must put greater emphasis on English as the second language…our younger generation must be proficient in English,” he said, concurring with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s stand on the matter.

He asserted that the newspaper (The Borneo Post) besides becoming a teaching tool to improve the standard of English would also enable teachers and students to know the current happenings, both locally and abroad.

Urging teachers and parent-teacher association (PTAs) to assist him to meet the objective, he said the schools would be provided with the newspaper on daily basis, while all students would get a copy each of the Wednesday paper, which comes with the ‘Good English’ supplement.

The school principal Hasbi Ancheh hoped the teachers would optimise the facility to improve English proficiency among students.

He thanked Julaihi for bringing the facility to schools in the area, including SMK Sebuyau, adding such facility would expose teachers and students to use English as a learning process.