Call for more teacher training courses

National 1 minute, 32 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

LANGUAGE specialists have called for more teacher training courses to improve English proficiency in the region.

Speakers at the Forum on English for ASEAN Integration yesterday said lack of teacher training was one of the most common challenges, as educators do not have sufficient qualifications in their countries.

Head of English Department Professor Daw Khin Sein of Myanmar’s Taunggyi University, said it is difficult to evaluate the proficiency of teachers in Myanmar, primarily because there is no standardised test to judge their level of English language proficiency.

Only a general impression can be made, as most of them lack the English language skills, as well as practical language skills, he said.

Professor Dr Fuad Abdul Hamied from Indonesia’s University of Education said “more than 30 per cent of English teachers (in Indonesia) have no academic qualifications”.

In his presentation, Dr Fuad described the multilingual setting of Indonesia, which is “characterised by the presence of more than 700 languages”.

He added that there remain opponents who argue that introducing English as a foreign language in primary school may hinder children’s learning of the Indonesian language.

Another problem raised during the forum was the non-standardised system of English education in Indonesia and Cambodia, as well as a shortage of English teachers within their countries.

Meanwhile, Mao Saroeun, deputy head of Education Department at the Cambodia National Institute of Education, said there was a shortage of textbooks, among other teaching and learning materials, in their country.

University of Yangon’s Professor Naw Ju Paw said there was a need to develop effective English teaching materials and course books that would suit the needs of teachers and students in Myanmar.

Experts from Cambodia and Vietnam also raised concerns on the difficulty of teaching and learning English in rural areas, particularly provincial rural areas, compared to cities.

The Brunei Times