UBM: English plays vital role

Doing their part: Ghandhi (second from left) handing over the mock cheque for RM30,000 to Kan (second from right). With them are (from left) MIFF general manager (furniture and interiors) Karen Goi, Dr Tan and Star Media Group Berhad special officer to group managing director/chief executive officer Loo Phan Kooi.

Doing their part: Ghandhi (second from left) handing over the mock cheque for RM30,000 to Kan (second from right). With them are (from left) MIFF general manager (furniture and interiors) Karen Goi, Dr Tan and Star Media Group Berhad special officer to group managing director/chief executive officer Loo Phan Kooi.

KUALA LUMPUR: Having recently organised the Malaysian Inter­national Furniture Fair (MIFF) which involved visitors from 130 countries, global events organiser UBM is no stranger to the fact that English plays an important role.

Its managing director (Asean Business) M Ghandhi said English proficiency was an important communication medium at international exhibitions.

“Even within the company, we communicate in English. UBM has offices in seven countries so our basic requirement for employment is English proficiency. The language is becoming more important,” he said after handing a mock cheque for RM30,000 as part of a sponsorship of an English education pullout called Step Up.

On hand to receive the mock cheque was Star Media Group Berhad group chief operating officer Calvin Kan.

MIFF chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat, who was also present, said this was the fifth time they were supporting the Step Up programme by The Star.

“The pullout will benefit many schoolchildren and teachers alike. Step Up is a valuable teaching resource especially for schools in remote areas. We have received good feedback and we feel that it is a good programme. For as long as we are able to, we will continue to support it,” he said.

Designed to boost English literacy in primary schools, the vibrant 24-page pullout features BM and Chinese translation of English words.

Ghandhi commended The Star for its initiative on producing the pullout.

“I think that it is fantastic The Star is trying to improve language proficiency among children at an early stage.

“Language is very important. When someone is able to speak in English, even as a child, he is more confident.

“Language confidence contributes to a person’s success. The sponsorship is a small contribution on our part,” he said.

He also added that UBM was committed to serving the community they operate in.

“This is the DNA of the organisation and we try to instil this in every staff that joins the organisation. It is part of our corporate social responsibility,” he said.

Step Up is a syllabus-based pullout approved by the Education Ministry that will prepare pupils in Years Four, Five and Six for the UPSR (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah) examination.

With 17 issues per year, the SK version of the pullout with BM translation is published every alternate Tuesday while the SJK version with Chinese translation is available every alternate Thursday.

For more information on NiE packages, Step Up or sponsorship programmes, contact The Star’s Cus­to­mer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 during office hours (Monday to Fri­day, from 9am to 5pm).

Subscription is through schools only.

Source: The Star

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Focus on quality of preschool learning

EMPHASIS will be given to the quality of preschool education as the second phase of the Malaysia Education Blueprint begins.

According to the Education Ministry’s deputy director of private education division Ahmad Lotfi Zubir, it is time to put quality on par with quantity.

“There is no point in having so many preschools that don’t meet the quality and requirements we look for,” he said in relation to an upcoming forum on early childhood education organised by the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council.

Ahmad Lotfi added that the ministry hopes to improve the quality of preschools through the National Pre-School Quality Standard (SKPK), which serves as a self-assessment tool launched in 2013 to measure quality. He said 70% of the 5,540 kindergartens have surpassed the minimum standard, while at least 21% are still not meeting the standard.

“Therefore, our focus is not only on the number of registered kindergartens but we are also focused on the quality of education these kindergartens provide,” he added.

Ahmad Lotfi added the ministry is taking steps to ensure preschool education quality improves, and among them is a programme called MyTadika, where 15 officers from the ministry will be selected to collaborate with 120 district education officers across the country.

“The Education Ministry is also working with ECCE to conduct the forums,” he said, adding that the ECCE forum next Saturday will look at quality of preschool management, teachers, implementation of national preschool curriculum standard, parent-school interactions, as well as safety, health and nutrition.

“Efforts to improve excellence among teachers have also been done where in 2015, the ministry provided monetary aid to 179 teachers to continue their studies as many private kindergarten teachers are only Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia holders,” he added.

Ahmad Lotfi said it is important that parents send their children to registered kindergartens from the age of four. This year, the ministry is aiming for such enrolment to hit 90%, with private kindergartens contributing 52%. As of March 14, 27% of children below five years old have enrolled in private kindergartens. He said a registered private kindergarten will have the ministry’s logo and registration number in the school, and the list of such entities can be found atsmpk.moe.gov.my.

“Quality early childhood development is very important.” said forum organising chairman Patricia Teh. Our government recognises that, hence the efforts to align private kindergarten with national kindergartens.”

For information on the forums, call the ECCE Council at 03 7886 8870 or Choy Ling/Rachel at 011 1147 5181.

Source: The Star