An effective learning and teaching system goes beyond academic achievements alone.
|“The quality of education far outweighs the quantity of schooling. Within this thrust is strongly embedded the competence to communicate in multiple languages and to be internationally relevant and functional.”
Learning materials: Raja Nazhatul Shima with Yap (right) viewing the items available at the booths set up by various exhibitors at the conference.
THE 12th Asia TEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language) International Conference and 23rd Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) International Conference focused on a theme which resonates with Malaysia’s efforts to embark on policies and strategies of transforming the national education system in line with global trends and demands.
In her speech, Raja Puan Mahkota Perak Raja Nazhatul Shima Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah said the theme of Developing Sustainable Quality in English Language Education: Evolving Policies, Innovating Practices, Transforming Learning, was particularly appropriate and “set a forward-looking tone to the conference”.
“When nations speak about their education systems today, they are no longer only concerned about attaining high standards but also about sustaining a progressively high quality of education so that their destiny can be secured,” she said.
Among developing countries, she said, effective education systems often went beyond academic achievements to focus on producing skills, encouraging group participation and promoting decisive thinking.
“The quality of education far outweighs the quantity of schooling. Within this thrust is strongly embedded the competence to communicate in multiple languages and to be internationally relevant and functional.”
Raja Nazhatul Shima was representing her sister Raja Zarith Sofiah, the consort of the Sultan of Johor and Melta’s royal patron, to open the conference at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching last week.
She also said the quality of teachers and teaching was the key to delivering quality education, which in turn would have a tangible impact on the economy and quality of life.
“There is research literature which indicate that teacher quality bears a significant and direct correlation to key economic and social indicators such as higher earnings, better learning outcomes, low teen pregnancy and female empowerment.
“Such research findings confirm the role teachers play in improving learning outcomes, raising the overall strength and quality of human capital, and ultimately driving long-term social and economic growth,” added Raja Nazhatul Shima.
She hoped that the ideas shared at the conference would have a sustainable impact on the participants’ teaching and professional development.
The three-day conference was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from 38 countries.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap who gave a keynote speech on “The Challenge of Sustainable Transformations in Quality English language Education: The Malaysian Experience’, said the conference was an excellent platform for English language practitioners, be they teachers in primary or secondary schools or university lecturers, to share knowledge and network with one another.
Melta president Assoc Prof Dr Ganakumaran Subramaniam said the organisation worked hard to support the development of English language teaching (ELT) in Malaysia.
He said Melta’s 56-year history bore testimony to its relentless efforts to promote high quality English language education.
“We are pleased that by organising the Asia TEFL conference, we can also share this commitment with Asia and the world. Even though this year we are sharing the conference platform with Asia TEFL, we will continue to undertake our commitment to the Malaysian ELT community,” he said.
Dr Ganakumaran also said there was a significant increase in the number of collaborations between Melta and key ELT organisations in Asia.
Its partners who were present at the conference included the Korea Association of Teachers of English, Teaching of English as a Foreign Language Association Indonesia, Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association, Japan Association of Language Teachers and Brunei Association of Language Teachers.
Melta also entered into an MoU with the Malaysian Teacher Education Institute International Languages Campus during the conference.
At the event, Star Publications (M) Bhd was honoured by Melta for its contributions towards the advancement of English in the country.
The company received the Raja Zarith Sofiah Award for Corporate Social Responsibility in English Language Education in recognition of its long-term and sustained efforts to support English language development. The Star acting group chief editor Leanne Goh received the award.
“We are honoured to be recognised by Melta for our CSR efforts in promoting English among our readers, and in schools and the country. It is one of our core areas of outreach work as we believe that knowing the language opens the door to many opportunities,” she said.