Foreigners to improve teaching competency

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FOREIGN experts will be hired to improve Bruneian teachers’ competencies, especially in preparing students for public examinations, the Legislative Council (LegCo) heard yesterday.

Education Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong yesterday said local teachers would be given expert guidance on improving their teaching competency especially to students taking the Primary School Assessment (PSR) and O Level examinations.

The minister was responding to the issue raised by YB Datin Paduka Hjh Salbiah Hj Sulaiman on whether the succession planning for the recruitment of foreign teachers is sustainable during the 10th Legislative Council session.

He further said the recruitment of teachers should be valuable and have a positive impact on the Ministry of Education towards improving the literacy and numeracy skills of students in the PSR and O level examinations.

“By having specialist teachers and heads of specialist teachers working in Brunei, local teachers will have the opportunity to get guidance from them (expert mentors).”

“This means that teachers will gain exposure and techniques that are equivalent with international standards,” he added.

By allowing local teachers to implement the teaching practices that are in accordance with international standards, they will be equipped with skills, thereby enhancing their professionalism.

The minister further said the introduction of best teaching methods would benefit students, enabling them to master the English language through wide exposure to different cultures that would inevitably position Brunei as consistent with international standards of learning.

“It is our hope students will be able to master the English language with excellence by having teachers from English-speaking countries,” the minister added.

A 2007 study made by consultants overseas found that 57 per cent of 806 English language teachers at the primary level had a proficiency level of mid-intermediate and below.

“Local teachers who have specific qualifications in English and Mathematics (still) require the guidance of experts with experience in literacy and numeracy education,” the minister said.

“Therefore, English and Mathematics experts from overseas will be invited even though we have the resources to fill the teaching positions, it is within the Ministry of Education’s plan to keep some non-local teachers in our system,” added the minister.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Abu Bakar shared that the work scope of these experts include the professional development and quality control management of teachers in schools in the primary and secondary levels.

The Brunei Times