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UTRAJAYA: The Professional Up-skilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) programme has been rolled out to train and

improve the language proficiency of teachers nationwide.

Under the programme, approximately 37,000 English Language option teachers will be trained in phases. It is a programme aimed at helping to strengthen the teachers grasp in the language so that students can also attain proficiency. Education Ministry Teaching Professionalism Development deputy director Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said the programme had been introduced earlier this month and by January, there would be 2,270 teachers participating in the programme. For the initial stage, the ministry is planning to train 5,000 English Language option teachers. The programme has since been introduced in Kelantan, Malacca and Pahang and the ministry has received positive response from the participants. It will be introduced in Kedah and Terengganu in January, he said during a briefing on the programme yesterday. He added that phase two of the programme would involve 2,730 teachers and would begin in February next

year, in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Perlis, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak. Khair said teachers who were currently undergoing the programme would come under the the B1 and B2 (independent user) bands, which meant that the teachers were able to participate independently in higher level of language interaction. However, he said teachers who were under the A1 and A2 (basic user) bands, would not go through the programme as they were normally the non-optional English Language teachers in schools. Instead, he said they would be redeployed to teach the subjects they had opted to teach initially. Prior to their selection to participate in the programme, the teachers will go through a language proficiency test and it is conducted through the administration of the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) for all the English language teachers nationwide. Once the results have been obtained, it will be calibrated with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to determine the band they are in, he added.

The CEFR is a common reference or metric for describing and determining a teachers proficiency in language learning, teaching and assessment. Aside from the CPT, the Aptis test by British Council is also used as a second filter to ensure that only teachers who need the programme attend it. He said the duration of the programme was for a year and the course commitment was for 44 weeks. The interaction and course components will put teachers through 240 hours of face-to-face interaction, and 240 hours of digital course. During the school term, they are required to complete at least a four-hour face-to-face session per week which will be held outside school teaching hours. During school holidays, they are subjected to a sevenday training per year at the nearest training centre. He said the teachers are trained by qualified and experienced trainers recruited from the British Council and the course materials used were reviewed by a panel comprising of senior English lecturers from both Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia.

The course materials are tailored to enhance their language competency. An internal panel comprising of UKM professors and the ministrys officers was formed to evaluate and monitor the participants and quality of the programme. External international consultants are also appointed by the British Council to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to ensure that the project objectives are achieved aside from maintaining the standards of the programme.

Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof says the duration of the Professional Up-skilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) programme is for a year and the course commitment is for 44 weeks.