KOTA KINABALU (Sept 24): The Kadazan Dusun language (BKD) should be offered as a subject in the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examination, says Penampang member of parliament Datuk Ewon Benedick.
Ewon, who is also the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister, said he believes that with commitment from the Sabah Education Department (JPN), this suggestion can first be implemented at the department level.
“However, rest assured that if additional assistance is required to realise this aspiration, my side and I will be the first to lend a helping hand to JPN Sabah, including by bringing the matter up to the relevant ministers. We will give our full support.
“I am sure that with collaborations among the government, KLF, indigenous communities and other relevant parties, we can fulfill BKD teaching and learning needs at all levels of education, including the lack of teachers and skill improvement training.
“In relation, I would like to share the good news that students who took the BKD subject in their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination in 2022 had recorded an increase of 0.45% in performance compared to 2021. Well done,” he said when launching Kadazan Dusun workbook modules for grade four to six primary school students at ITCC shopping mall here on Sunday.
The Kadazan Dusun Carnival organised by the Kadazan Dusun Language Foundation (KLF) was held concurrently with the workbook launch, in which Ewon had officiated and also put forward two proposals to empower BKD learning and teaching in the state.
Firstly, he suggested for scholarships to be offered to students taking up BKD courses at higher learning institutions, specifically Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Perak, in order to ensure the sufficiency of BKD teachers here.
“We know that there are several Sabahan students who are taking BKD courses, and they require funding for their studies. Since Yayasan Bank Rakyat (YBR) is under my responsibility, I thought, why not have the foundation offer scholarships for eventual BKD graduates at UPSI? Hence, I am pushing for this proposal to be implemented by next year,” he said.
Secondly, he suggested for awards be given to teachers and others who are involved in pushing for the empowerment of BKD here, and he opined that the awards can be presented during the annual Kadazan Dusun Carnival here.
“As a leader from the KDMR (Kadazan Dusun Murut Rungus) community, I believe that we should recognise and appreciate the hard work by our teachers and past leaders who have done a lot for the teaching, learning, preservation and strengthening of the Kadazan Dusun language here,” he said.
Regarding the launch of the BKD workbook modules for primary school students, he said KLF had continued its publication for grade five and six primary school students to meet the needs of BKD teaching and learning in schools.
He said the workbooks are up to date and follow the Primary School Curriculum Standard (KSSR), and also offer QR codes for students to complete the listening and speaking activities, as well as answer sheets for teachers.
“The workbooks, which were first distributed throughout Sabah in 2022 for grade four primary school students before the modules for grade five and six students were launched today, had received great reception from BKD teachers here.
“And according to the Ministry of Education (MoE), the impact of these books has been very positive. Many BKD teachers have given their feedback that the modules are very helpful in their teaching and learning process,” he said.
Meanwhile, JPN Sabah director Raisin Saidin said there are currently around 417 primary schools and 47 secondary schools in Sabah that are offering BKD subjects, and the department’s current focus is ensuring BKD teachers in both school categories are sufficient.
He said close cooperation with the Kent Teachers’ Education Institute (IPG) in Tuaran and IPG Keningau is imperative to achieve the goal, and the department will intensify its efforts in the near future to overcome the shortage of BKD teachers in Sabah and other related issues.
Also present were YBR chairman Datuk Philip Lasimbang and KLF chief executive officer Rita Lasimbang.