SPEECH BY THE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG YAB TUAN CHOW KON YEOW FOR THE AWARDS CEREMONY OF PERSATUAN GURU TADIKA PULAU PINANG
26 October 2019
A very good afternoon to all of you.
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today to witness this joyful celebration of Halloween and more importantly, to be part of this Awards Ceremony of Persatuan Guru Tadika Pulau Pinang.
As we are all aware of, the Ministry of Education has enforced at least a Diploma in Early Childhood Education as the minimum qualification of all preschool teachers by 2020. On that note, it is indeed a proud moment for all of us as we witness the Awards Ceremony of all 30 members from Persatuan Guru-Guru Tadika Pulau Pinang who had successfully graduated with a
Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education recently to pursue a career in teaching the young. I highly commend the efforts made in uplifting your respective teaching skills and standards to effectively contribute towards the cognitive capacity of our pre-schoolers.
As John F. Kennedy pointed out, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” I am quite convinced that everyone here agrees with his statement. As a parent, we strive to give the best to our children and we always hope for the best for them as well.
Research has shown that much of what we need to succeed in life is established before the primary school phase. During that time, the human brain undergoes rapid development. It’s a period when a child builds cognitive skills — the foundation for reading, math, science and academics — as well as personal characteristics, social-emotional growth, gross-motor skills and executive functioning, which include everything from impulse control to problem solving.
All these can only come true when a child receives proper teaching or nurturing especially through a qualified early childhood educator. A well-trained early childhood educator would have gone through the thorough training on the sophisticated understanding of a child’s cognitive and socio-emotional development as well as on the knowledge of a broad range of subject-matter content areas. Teaching young children is certainly a profession that needs serious coaching and training and I strongly urge all pre-school teachers to consider developing your skills and knowledge through a professional course such as Diploma in Early Childhood, which is not only for your personal growth, but also to make teaching pre-schoolers a rewarding career.
Ladies & gentlemen,
Another significant point I would like to highlight is the importance of English. Being equipped with profound knowledge and a good character are indeed necessary to ensure a bright future in our hand. However, one should not overlook the fact that, by mastering English at the same time, it enhances all opportunities in life and opens every door along the way, owing to the fact that English is a global language. I regret to say that many graduates nowadays are facing difficulties to succeed in getting their dream job mainly due to their inadequate command of the English language. This is obviously an issue that can be overcome as long as we realise it soon enough to make changes.
According to the Roadmap for English Language Education Reform in Malaysia spanning 2015 to 2025, a joint initiative between Cambridge Assessment English and the Ministry of Education adopting the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference), all students are expected to achieve A2 (basic user) by the time they complete primary school education and B1 (independent user) by the end of secondary school. As for English teachers, they are expected to achieve C1 (proficient user) by 2025.
We can take advantage of this clear framework and take the necessary steps to improve our English proficiency level through proper channels to build up all four skills of English, namely reading, writing, listening and speaking. If we, especially children, are given the right learning materials along with qualified teachers and environment, I believe the objectives mentioned in the Roadmap can definitely be achieved!
Quality education is undoubtedly the passport for our young to reach their full potential in life and it is our duty to provide them with such means. However, in order for us to do so, we must first take the initiative to carry out the first step which is to educate ourselves. As such, let us all work hand in hand to make further progress in education that will enable us to create a better future for our children tomorrow!