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K-dusun teachers: Need to centralise training
Published on: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Penampang: The training of teachers specialising in Kadazandusun education should be centralised and focused in only one teachers' institute in order to avoid resources from being split and spread thin.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said currently, there are 60 trainees specialising in the subject in Kent Teachers' Institute in Tuaran, while another 40 are training in the Institute of Teacher Education Keningau Campus.

"I would suggest that Kent be used as the main training institute given that the trainers there are more experienced. They had been there from the start when this programme was first mooted and secondly, we are aware that Keningau is being transformed for another purpose in the future," he said during a press conference, here, Sunday.

Furthermore, Tangau said while the Government has provided funds for activities aimed to advance other languages, particularly Tamil and Mandarin, there is no similar fund made available for the Kadazandusun language yet.

Therefore, he urged the Government to consider giving the same funds, apart from funds that will go towards the training of teachers and materials, to finance activities related to Kadazandusun language among students.

Another problem facing the real progress of the Kadazandusun language in schools is the improper placement of teachers trained in the language as they are posted to schools where they are not needed and thus teach subjects other than the Kadazandusun language, he said.

"As a result, most of the schools offering Kadazandusun language are forced to depend on teachers who are not trained to teach the subject.

"And sometimes, when schools cannot find replacement for these teachers when they transferred to other schools or retired, the schools would simply stop the programme and replace it with something else," he said.

He proposed that the Ministry of Education should coordinate with teachers' training colleges and universities where these teachers would be placed once they graduated.

He regretted that some of these graduates had to wait for more than a year before they were given placements.

"Last year, I had to intervene on behalf of around a hundred of these graduates who were made to wait for their placements for more than a year. I wrote a letter to my colleague and thankfully, they all have been posted to schools.

"However, not all of them are teaching Kadazandusun. Some are teaching Bahasa Malaysia, and even some have become counselling teachers. So that is unfortunate. It is a waste of resources, hence the need for some kind of coordination between the relevant parties," he said.

Tangau also called on the Kadazandusun people to stop bickering about the standard Bundu Liwan dialect taught in the schools as that issue had long been put to rest following an agreement between the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) and United Sabah Dusun Association (Usda).

The agreement was signed on Jan 24, 1995 between KDCA President Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the then Usda President the late Datuk Mark Koding.

"Argument should now cease because this thing had already been debated in parliament and it had been accepted as it is today. So stop arguing about this issue. Instead, we should work together to develop the language further," he said. - Tracy Patrick

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