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Arts & Letters Daily



Desperate rural children need English in school and at work

SJK(C) Tsi Sin Primary

Children in Malaysia must pass State English Exams to enter high school or to get jobs in the cities. Many children in small rural communities do not meet this standard. Their teachers need more training and suitable English learning resources.

That’s why a group of dedicated citizens in Malaysia introduced the program Room to Read and Write – a remedial and enrichment Saturday English program. Parents are clamouring to register their students in the program. Why? It works! For example. all the students in the program at Tenom School passed the State English Exam. Go to ‘Success Stories‘ to see how the whole community celebrated the students’ success!


Remote village schools

Room to Read and Write Saturday Program has been offered to four schools each year for the past three years for a total of approximately 360 students in grades 4 – 6. This thee year period was the pilot phase of the Program where the details of the training and delivery were worked out. These details included:

  • customizing a English remedial and enrichment program for grades 4 – 6
  • developing a teacher training program
  • delivering a teacher program online
  • promoting the program to schools and parents in remote villages
  • delivering English learning resources
  • installing and maintaining basic technology for teachers and students
  • contracting teachers
  • teaching the program
  • preparing grade six students for the State English Exam
  • raising funds from corporations for parents who could not pay the tuition
  • develop a website to ‘spread the word’ and to request donations

District of Tenom

Here is an appeal for support from one school which participated in the Program. It is one example of the requests for support we receive. This school in the town of Tenom decided to offer Saturday English classes at no cost to the parents. The goal is to register 50 students in this program at the cost of $40.00Cdn per student. These students will learn sufficient English to succeed in high school. These funds will cover basic expenses such as a small teacher stipend, Internet access, supplies and photocopying. An English program with all the required educational supplies for the teachers and students has been made available at no cost by Dr. Otto Toews (Ph.D.) and Joan McCreath (M.Ed.). One Internet access is needed to deliver the program at no cost to parents. Hence, no students in Tenom who are eligible for this after school will be turned away.

Room to Think and Write Team

Philip Tham, Theresa Tham, Edward Tham

Student - Saturday class - Tenom Students - Tawau - Kuokming