68 teachers needed to teach Bahasa Iban


FOR YOU: Prof Dr Noraini (third left) hands over the proposal to Fatimah, witnessed by (from left) Dr Rosline, UPSI’s director of National Child Development Research Centre and Prof Madya Dr Sopia Md Yassin.

KUCHING: Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah says that Sarawak needs another 68 teachers specialising in the teaching of Bahasa Iban.

She said in Sarawak there were about 32,000 secondary students taking Bahasa Iban as an elective subject, and about 23,000 primary pupils learning it.

“Now, we plan to introduce Iban as a subject to Form 6 students,” Fatimah said after receiving a courtesy call from University Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)’s deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Noraini Idris at her office here yesterday.

She said under the Standard Primary School Curriculum 2011, Bahasa Iban had become a compulsory elective subject like Bahasa Arab, Bahasa Cina, Bahasa Tamil, Bahasa Semai and Bahasa Kadazandusun.

“Among the 1,261 primary schools in Sarawak, 641 are taking Bahasa Iban,” revealed Fatimah.

According to her, Bahasa Iban was introduced to primary schools in 1957 and secondary school in 1963.

She said to cope with the increasing demand, UPSI had started accepting 20 students to study Bahasa Iban for its 2010/2011 intake last year.

The four-year degree students would major in Bahasa Malaysia and do Bahasa Iban as a minor subject. They will teach at secondary schools after graduation.

Program Pensiswazahan Guru Bahasa Iban at Institut Perguruan Kampus Rejang has 25 participants.

At Institut Perguruan Kampus Miri, an in-service Bahasa Iban training was held for six weeks with 30 participants.

She urged the school to apply early to the Education Department for a Bahasa Iban teacher.

Apart from that, UPSI had proposed to offer to train pre-school education (taska) teachers and provide support service to the present taska teachers.

Fatimah said:” We are looking at the possibility of carrying it out.”

She also said those attending the sixth pre-School Education Convention here next month would end up with credit hours for diploma education.

Also present was UPSI’s lecturer for the Faculty of Languages and Communication, Dr Rosline Sandai.

She said a three-year research on teaching Bahasa Iban to taska would be carried out starting next year.

She said the Iban language should be taught before children enter primary school to strengthen their command of the language.