On track to better English

Corporate group vows ongoing support for NiE to improve students’ command of language

By ANDY CHUA
andychua@thestar.com.my

22032014 On track to better english

SIBU: Timber and oil palm conglomerate Ta Ann Holdings Bhd has pledged to continue sponsoring The Star’s NiE (Newspaper-in­ Education) programme for schools here. According to secretary cum group financial controller Augustine Siaw, chief executive officer Datuk Wong Kuo Hea has given his assurance of the group’s ongoing support for the collaboration, which is in its fifth year running. “This sponsorship is also part of our corporate social responsibility and we will continue to support it,” Siaw spoke at the handing over of the sponsorship here yesterday.

He also suggested for the “RHB-The Star Mighty Minds National Challenge” to be organised in rotation between different cities and towns in Sarawak so that schools outside Kuching could take part.

This year’s state-level competition would be held in the state capital on May 5.Earlier The Star assistant circulation manager for Sarawak, Kong Hua Ming, encouraged schools in this town to take part in the Mighty Minds challenge, seeing that it was a good exposure for them to test their thinking skills. Meanwhile, Catholic High School assistant principal Br john Tan said his students had benefited much from the NiE programme. Tan, who also heads the school’s English Department, noted that students had become more motivated to read as the programme came with good materials which they could not find elsewhere.

“I am sure they (students) have learned a lot. The teachers, on the other hand, also find it easier to encourage their charges to read more as they know that English is a universal lan­ guage for communications,” he added. Tan said Dong Zhong, the umbrella body for Chinese education, recently assigned lecturers from a private university to conduct English workshop for teachers and students at the Catholic High School.

“We hope The Star could also emulate the initiative of Dong Zhong by sending English experts to our school to help us improve our command of the language.” Another English Department head, Eman Sebayu of SMK Bukit Assek, also lauded the NiE initiative.

“We have just started our Nilam programme where we set aside a half-hour every Friday as reading time for students. During this time, higher secondary students are reading The Star as its standard of English is higher than other newspapers,” he added.

Eman observed that since participating in NiE four years ago, the standard of English among the school’s SPM students had improved. “Although the improvement is rather mini­mal, it is a good sign as most of our students who enter Form One are from schools that are weak in the language,” he added.

The Star’s N iE programme supports the national goal of improving students’ English language proficiency. Now in its 17th year, it has evolved with the times, bringing readers’ activities that are bet­ter and more exciting than ever. Written by a team of experienced English language teachers and specialists, the vibrant pullout is a powerful tool at a teacher’s fingertips.

For enquiries on NiE packages, contact Kong at 019-858 1105 or The Star’s Customer Care Unit (03-7967 1777), between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.