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OPENING SPEECH BY Y.A.B.

DATUK SERI PANGLIMA MUSA HAJI AMAN


CHIEF MINISTER OF SABAH, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE STATE LEVEL
ENGLISH DAY PROGRAMME BY THE SABAH STATE EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT YEAR 2016, AT SMK SRI NANGKA, TUARAN
ON 16 FEBRUARY 2016

I am honoured to be here this morning at this meaningful and important event, one that will
further transform education achievement in Sabah. In the last five years, public examination
results of students in Sabah have shown tremendous improvement and I view this event as an
effort to make further strides in bringing competency levels in this state to newer heights.

I wish to congratulate the Sabah Education Department on your initiative to organise the
English Day programme and to announce Tuesdays as English Day for the education
community, including for those who work in education offices. By not limiting
the programme to schools, you are setting the right example.

We need to embark on continuous efforts to encourage the younger generation to be well


versed in English. Although other languages are also widely spoken, English is the official
medium of communication in many countries. It is estimated that the number of people
worldwide who use English to communicate on a regular basis is two billion, which is about
a third of the global population.

It is worrying to note that some students think that they can do well later on without
mastering at least some of the key competencies in the English language. In a highly
globalized world, it is necessary to be able to communicate in English as it is the dominant
business language. Feedback from all over the world shows that cross-border business
communication is most often conducted in English. This languages importance in the global
market place cannot be understated. Learning English can change your lives and we need to
keep encouraging students to not shy away from this language.

For those who enjoy reading and other forms of media, many of the worlds top films, books
and music are published and produced in English. By learning English, you will have access
to a great wealth of knowledge and entertainment. About half of the content produced in the
Internet is in English. This does translate into a huge amount of information that one could
lose out on by ignoring the language. While learning English can be challenging and time
consuming, it is necessary to make the sacrifice as it does open doors to many opportunities
and to some extent, boosts innovation.

It is not an easy task to start with something new. Some resist speaking English as they regard
it as glorification of a colonial language. Others shy away when they are labelled as showing
off or being arrogant when they use the language. This is not a good situation to be in as it
may demotivate those who are willing to brush up their English proficiency.

I understand there are a number of programmes run by the Education Department to upgrade
the level of English achievement and the level of proficiency among users. Some 23 schools
are currently taking part in the Highly Immersive Programme. This programme is meant to
encourage the use of English as a medium of communication beyond the classroom. Another
initiative is the Dual Language Programme through which Mathematics and Science are
taught in English. Other than fulfilling the criteria set by the minister, schools need to conduct
surveys to gain consensus from parents for this to proceed.

I am glad to welcome 15 Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) from the United States
of America to be part of the Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening English
Language policy. Feedback from students and schools about this collaboration between the
Malaysian and American governments has been positive. Apart from increasing interest
among students, English language teachers are able to further develop their professional
network and share classroom ideas, experiences and techniques with one another.

I wish to share that the Sabah Government is committed to seeing improvement of


proficiency in English among students. We will work hand in hand especially with the Sabah
Education Department to ensure basic needs in schools especially in rural and remote areas,
are met. We hope this will reduce the gap between rural and urban areas and improve
achievement among students. It is our collective responsibility to instil confidence in using
this language so that it is used in daily communication and is not limited to just aiming to get
the minimum requirement for passing it in exams.

I once again commend the Sabah Education Department for this effort to uplift the
application of the English Language among students and the education community. I wish
you all the best in successfully implementing this programme.

On that note, I am pleased to declare the English Day Programme officially launched.
Thank you

The Highly Immersive Programme (HIP) is a programme introduced under the MBMMBI policy that
will improve the English proficiency of students through increased exposure in schools. It is a
reinforcement of the 1999 MOE circular on implementing English enrichment activities in and out of
class. It also aims to inculcate positive behaviours towards the learning and usage of the English
Language.

It is a reinforcement of the 1999 MOE circular on implementing English enrichment activities in and
out of class. What is different is the way we are implementing HIP. The approach is to
empower schools, by the schools and for the schools. Schools will be provided with a toolkit so that
they will be guided for a more purposeful planning of activities, based on their local context and
capabilities. The toolkit will contain examples of best practices from schools that have
implemented English enrichment activities in and out of class successfully.There will be a support
mechanism to encourage schools to share, learn and encourage each other on the implementation
of English enrichment activities.

THE FUNDAMENTAL FACTORS

The success of the Highly Immersive Programme (HIP) largely depends on the

combination of four fundamental factors below:

School Head
Teachers

Students

Parents and Community

The above factors are highlighted based on evidenced practices in model schools

that have succeeded in developing a highly immersive environment for English

language learning for its students. Each factor plays a critical and supportive role
in

the learning process of students and is crucial to the improvement of

students learning outcomes. The roles of each factor above are described as
below.

School Head

The School Head acts as an anchor leading the school in actively creating a
Highly

Immersive English Language environment. The School Head is both a leader and

constant motivator who takes responsibility for the English language


performance in

the school. The School Head strategically plans for the implementation and

sustainability of language programmes within the school and ensures that these

English Language programmes are organised effectively in order to make an


impact

on student outcomes in a positive manner. The School Head also creates a

communication network with parents and community, by getting them to


contribute

towards the successful organizing of relevant language programmes within the

school.

Teachers

The English Language teachers play a vital role in the implementation of all
English

Language programmes within the school. The teachers support the School Head
in
creating a bilingual rich environment. The teachers act as excellent role models
of

language use and build an immersive English environment for students by


constantly

and systematically exposing them to English language use and activities both in
and

outside the language classroom. The English teachers conduct effective teaching

and learning by adopting best practices based on the needs of students.


Teachers of

other subjects are equal key-players in organizing and implementing English

programmes, events and activities within and outside the school. They assist in

creating tools and aids required for the effective implementation of ELT activities.

Students

The student is the main beneficiary of the programme. His or her role is to take

charge of his/her personal learning process and development. The student


develops

a sense of ownership in the learning of English through volunteerism and active

participation in English language activities organised by the school. This attribute


will

enable the student to build confidence and motivation in the language use,
leading to

enhanced language proficiency in the long run. The student will constantly seek

support from teachers, parents and community in achieving the above goals. The

student provides feedback to ensure continuous improvement of HIP in school.

Parents and Community

Parents and Community play the role of supporters who contribute in creating an

English environment. Their expertise and continuous support are sought after to

ensure the effectiveness and the sustainability of the programme. They work
hand-

in-hand with the School Head and the teachers in support of all English language
HE declining standard of English proficiency among our students has never ceased to challenge the
educators.

Various attempts were made, ideas generated and plans were executed only to hit a dead end, often
resulting in tremendous frustration and anxiety.

However a rather new programme is making headlines lately with its positive outcomes and some
glimmer of hope.

Aptly named Highly Immersive Programme, it aims to involve and immerse the students in an
English-rich environment as a first step in achieving the objectives.

The Highly Immersive Programme (HIP) is one of the two programmes introduced with the aim of
improving the English proficiency of students by providing increased exposure to English.

Though it was initially introduced under the Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening the
English Language (MBMMBI) policy in 1999, it failed to achieve the intended objectives was thus left
to die a slow death.

However it has now been given a fresh of breath of air and reintroduced with more vigour and
intensity under the existing MBMMBI policy.

A substantial amount was allocated in Budget 2016, from which RM38.5 million was earmarked to
facilitate a pilot project to launch HIP and also the Dual Language Programme (DLP) in 2016.

In Budget 2017, a further RM90 million was allocated to boost English language proficiency in schools
through Cambridge English, Dual Language and Highly-Immersive Programmes.
It is obviously an all-out move to tackle the problem at hand. HIP is a well crafted programme with the
noble intention of enhancing English proficiency among students.

It appears to be an attempt to rectify blunders of the past while aiming to instil interest and awareness
among the students.

Under this programme, students are given more exposure to English but without an increase in the
teaching hours.

There is a notable difference compared with others launched previously as it empowers the schools to
plan and execute programmes which are tailor-made to suit the immersive level of the students.

It also differs in terms of the strategy applied where it is based on a whole school approach which
ropes in the school heads, teachers, students, parents and community.

This strategy works rather well as the stakeholders are given equal importance and acknowledgement
for their respective roles in realising the objectives of the programme.

Schools also have the liberty to move on their own pace, based on the level of immersiveness of the
students, without unnecessary pressure from the authorities.

Schools have only themselves to compete with, thus ending the outdated one size fits all approach.

The level of immersiveness of a school is decided after assessments, which involve the school head,
teachers, students and parents, are carried out and the results statistically analysed.
The schools are then placed in a specific level and plans and strategies are drawn based on the
needs of the students.

The school principal is assigned the role of an Anchor and has the responsibility to lead the school in
actively creating a Highly Immersive English Language environment.

The teachers play a vital role in implementing English Language programmes which are expected to
assist in creating interest among the students.

The community plays an equally important role by contributing and being involved in the activities
planned.

Students are involved directly in suggesting, planning and executing them with their teachers
guidance.

This programme is perceived to be unique for two reasons. It gives true recognition to English
language and it empowers the schools to plan and execute the programmes in their own capacity. It
focuses on empowering schools, by the schools and for the schools.

This recognition and empowerment has arrived at a time when many teachers are on the verge of
surrendering. The passion these teachers have towards the language has been reignited with them
having the power to steer their students towards the right direction.

Playing the role as the doers, the teachers have the freedom to conduct effective teaching and
learning activities assisted by Parent-Teacher associations. HIP is currently in its second phase and
plans to expand it nationwide by the year 2018 are in the pipeline.

Genuine involvement to create awareness among the students and exceptional effort from all parties
is crucial.

They are entrusted with the mammoth task of creating positive acceptance towards the importance of
learning and mastering English and their roles become the deciding factor in sustaining this
programme.

Commitment from the principals, teachers, parents and students coupled with a genuine desire are
the ultimate deciding factors for the success of this highly ambitious programme. Lets work together
to revive the situation before its too late.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2016/11/28/a-


better-hope-for-our-english/#lABZkvG31bOJsUWo.99