KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will welcome another five new English Teaching Assistant (ETA) this year due to the success of the programme’s implementation last year.
“Last year was our first time in Sabah and we had ten but this year we decided to add another five new ETAs in Ranau and Kota Marudu,” said Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (Macee) representative, Benjamin Vernum.
He said this during the Sabah State Fullbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Orientation Programme at Grand Borneo Hotel here, Monday.
According to the State Education Director, Datuk Jame Alip the ten-month programme is a collaboration between the Malaysian and the American government.
“It is jointly supervised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Macee. This programme aims to increase the use of English language among Malaysian students and is in line with the policy of Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening English Language (MBMMBI),” he explained in his speech delivered by his Senior Assistant (Academic Management Sector), Mohd Fadzli Abdul Rozan.
According to him, the ETAs had been posted to four District Education Office last year namely Kota Belud, Tuaran, Papar and Beaufort and this year, the five new ETAs will be sent to Ranau as well as Kota Marudu district.
“We are so pleased with the positive feedback we received from all who were involved in this programme last year,” he said.
“We saw a number of awesome programme and a number of great results of the interactions of the ETAs had with the students.
“We see lots of improvement in the students’ participation in class and the confidence they have using English and in their activities after school. We think it’s great.
Commenting on the ETAs’ accomplishments back in the United States apart from attending the top universities, he said he was impressed as students were able to communicate in English well.
“We’re excited for them to be able to participate in the exchange programme and to teach the Malaysians students,” he said, stating that there 10 ETAs across Malaysia who returned to Malaysia for the second time.
Meanwhile, SMK Tandek’s ETA, Lillian Alexander, 23, said that they were all eager to get to their placements and meet the students at their schools.
“I want to see the students’ interests and I have also learnt that we’re going to work on with English Day every Tuesday.
“We have sort of an idea among all the ETAs in Sabah to do a Humans Of Borneo project similar to the Humans of New York project in New York City,” she said, adding that she plans to get involved in environmental clubs, beach cleanups, art and dramas, music and even collaborative activities with the Kinabalu National Parks.
“I used to run after-school programmes, camps and counselling back in USA apart from teaching in Uganda few summers ago,” she said, adding that her parents are very supportive and used to her travelling a lot.
On another note, SMK Pekan Kota Belud ETA, Miller Radford, 22, who is from North Carolina said he planned to introduce films to his students as he used to be active in the respective field before.
“I plan to teach them how to make short films…I hope that it will help them to express themselves and will incorporate English in it.
They can be creative and form some projects and will be able to write and act in English and this is something the school can hold forever,” said the University of Pennsylvania graduate.- By Bosco Wong/Sayangsabah.