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Background Overview Malaysia has a population of over 22 million people, with a rich linguistic and cultural diversity, including

over 137 living languages of which over 100 are distinct indigenous languages (Wurm, 1983). Geographically, Malaysia is divided into two parts: West Malaysia, known formerly as Malaya, and East Malaysia which encompasses the states of Sarawak and Sabah. The major ethnic groups are the Malays and other indigenous groups who account for 65.1% of the population, and the immigrant communities like the Chinese (26%) and the Indians (7.7%) and other minorities1.2% (Census Malaysia, 2000). After the country gained independence from the British in 1957, it was established as a secular multicultural and multi-religious democracy following the Western model.

The Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Malaysia are a core part of the Malaysian entity, but with different habits and cultures; their lifestyle ranges from that of a settled existence to a semi-nomadic life, with the majority living in rural areas. The poverty rate among the Orang Asli is 76% and in 1991, their literacy rate was 43% compared to the national rate of 86% (Census Malaysia, 2000). The Orang Asli, who are traditionally animists, are slowly embracing Islam and Christianity (Nambiar, et al., 2010).

Orang Asli is the term used by the Malay people instead of the term aborigines which was used by the British colonist; it means the natural people, yet, it is used to refer to the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia who are not Muslim Malay. (Keat, 2004) Orang Asli in Malaysia has many types of culture and belief, which impacted from history of migration centuries ago, and they consist of a variety of sub-

ethnic groups (Alshurdin et al., 2011). According to ALshrudin et al., Orang Asli consists of three main ethnic groups which are Negrito, Senoi and Porto -Malay. Each one of these tribes consists of six sub-tribes. Orang Asli have other alternative names like Kensiu, Kintak, Lanoh, Jahai, Mendriq, Bateq, Temiar, Semai (Semang), CheWong, Jahut, Semoq Beri, Mah Meri, Jakun, Temuan (Balandas), Semelai, Temoq (Temok), Orang Kanaq (Kanak), Orang Laut, Selitar

They mainly live in highland and rain-forest jungles of Malay peninsula

Orang Asli and their suffering during the British colonist 19481960, this period witnessed a serious phase in the British occupation of Malaysia as at this time the colonial government was at war with communist rebels. Under the excuse of national security the colonial government started on the mass repositioning of the dispersed and scattered rural population into barbed wire outer limits, fortified entries, look-out towers, and an armed guard of police (Dobby, 195253: 163164). Many of those resettled were of Chinese origin (about half a million), whom the British thought were communist members or adherents. The Orang Asli people were also forcibly resettled so that they would not support the insurgents. Unlike the Chinese villagers who were permitted to start vegetable gardens, the Orang Asli were completely severed from their normal activities of hunting, fishing or forest foraging. Further, Orang Asli homes and food stocks were destroyed and their ladang (farmlands) and crops bombed. Many of them died due to the mass killing or due to the lack of means of living. Yet some of them either could escape away by cutting the barbed fence or by seeking the help of the rebels. Later on, in 1953, the British played a game to win the heart of the Orang Asli people; after realizing that those people cannot live away from their jungles or forests: they

built them forts to live in the jungles and brought them in different services including the medical services. The British colonists succeeded in passing their plan, and they won the hearts of the Orang Asli people.

In 1976, the government suggested a plan to relocate the Orang Asli settlements in the Titiwangsa Region, along the central main range thought to be bases of communist insurgents. Officially, moving Orang Asli into regroupment schemes is seen as a political project to protect the Orang Asli, assumed to be isolated from national society. During the Malayan Emergency of 1948 to 1960, the Orang Asli became a vital component of national security, as with their help, the Malayan army was able to defeat the communist insurgents. Two administrative actions were introduced to highlight the importance of Orang Asli to protect their identity. The initiatives were the establishment of the Department of Aborigines in 1950, and the enactment of the Aboriginal Peoples Ordinance in 1954. After independence, the development of Orang Asli become the prime objective of the government where the government adopted a policy in 1961 to integrate the Orang Asli into the wider Malaysian society (Nicholas, 2002)

Population The Orang Asli population raised from 54,033 in 1969 to 92,529 in 1994, at a rate of about 2.3 per cent a year ( Department of Social Welfare, 1997). However, according to Lee the Orang Asli population in 2009 was of approximately 150,000 people. The Orang Asli lived in the forests, but due to loss of forest areas, integration into mainstream society and urbanization, they are rapidly losing their traditional

knowledge and culture. (Lee, et al., 2009). In 2006, there were about 147, 412 from the Orang Asli people living in 869 villages. The government, since 1957, has been doing great efforts to improve the quality of the life of the indigenous people of Malaysia. The government has established 869 villages for them to live in. many projects were launched to make them live a modern easy life, the government also provided them with electricity and resources of pure and clean water (Kamaruddin et al., 2008). Yet some people disagree with that mentioned above, and they believe that what has been done for the Orang Asli people is not enough. But we cannot neglect the fact that the government has enacted many laws to protect their rights. For example, the National Land Code 1965, Land, Conservation Act 1960, Protection of Wildlife Act 1972, National Parks Act 1980, and most importantly the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954. The Aboriginal Peoples Act1954 provides for the setting up and establishment of the Orang Asli Reserve Land. As a matter of fact we should point out the fact that the Orang Asli people are not homogenous group, they belong to different tribes with different cultures (Michael & Chuen, 2012).

Health They suffer from a lot of health problems. According to NG et al, as cited by (Michael & Chuen, 2012), there are many barriers that stand against providing good health service for them; these barriers include the difficulty of providing means of transportation for these clinics, the problem of communication between the medical personnel and the Orang Asli people, and the absence of medical culture. Mothers are not either aware enough to take care of their children, they dont pay due care to cleanliness; as a result, they suffer from many disease (Phua, 2009). Even those incurable diseases spread among the Orang Asli people; and this may be due to lack

of culture and the uncontrolled mixing between the two sexes. They contribute to 0.06 % of the total cases of people affected by the HIV (AIDS) although they make only 0.6% to the total population of Malaysia (Anita et al., 2007)

The Orang Asli women suffered from high rates of deaths, especially postpartum deaths which occur as a result of hemorrhage. Orang Asli contributed to 4.8 of the total deaths over Malaysia although they make 0.6 of the total population of Malaysia. The children also suffer from tuberculosis and many other infectious diseases more than their counterparts. The incidents of leprosy cases are very high. In 2001, Orang Asli had 51.5 of malaria cases recorded in Malaysia (JHEOA 2005:22). In 2003, it became 53.6

The Orang Asli concept of health is also different and strange. They care about what they think to be serious diseases, but on the other hand they dont care about skin diseases because they feel that such kind of diseases are not serious because a patient will be able to live a normal-like life; he will not stay home or be admitted to a hospital. What makes the situation more complicated for the Orang Asli people is that they dont believe so far in medical treatment or the so-called scientific methods. They believe that those supernatural elements can do better in treating their sick people. They think that spirits take part in everything in life, and that those spirits can cause harm and death. In spite of all that, they still have their traditional methods of treating. In fact Orang Asli health should be put in a socio-economic frame. They cannot, for example, stay in hospitals for long time; they cannot be detached from their forest life. (Tuck-Po 2011)

A very important aspect which we should care of is that those people are sensitive, and they should be dealt with in a cultural-understanding basis. For example, there is a high percentage of women deaths when they give births, but the institutional solution is not the best option. This solution is not culturally so accepted; besides, it causes much trouble to the whole family. Women had to be warded a month before their due time of delivery. A better solution would be to train midwives and to provide telephone and transport services.

According to (JHEOA, 2005), Orang Asli health service consists of 125 treatment center, 20 transit center, and 10 health clinics. Moreover there are mobile clinics. Yet there are still some underperformances like that lack of comprehensive health services in the interior villages. There is also a shortage of paramedics and health providers.

In fact the Orang Asli people are surrounded by poverty, poor health and illiteracy. We can call them the three destroying factors.

Food In terms of food, they mostly depend on certain types of food; they depend on rodents, frogs and fish as a source of animal protein; consequently, they suffer from lack of protein which affects the health of pregnant women and children (Bolton, 1972). They have many food taboos according to their beliefs.

Poverty Rate The Orang Asli people suffer from abject poverty; its enough to know that the poverty rate among Orang Asli is 76.9%. In addition to this high rate, the Statistics

Department of Malaysia has classified 35.2% of the population as being "hardcore poor". Its assessed that one child to be sent to school to receive education will cost 100.00 or RM150.00 monthly (Government of Malaysia, 2005). Thus how could a parent afford paying for the education of his children who might be five or six? Poverty is a teaser which should be dealt with. Poverty is the enemy of the human being, no progress or development without eradicating poverty.

The majority of Orang Asli live in rural areas, while a minority have moved into urban areas. In 1991, the literacy rate for the Orang Asli was 43% compared to the national rate of 86% at that time. They have an average life expectancy of 53 years (52 for male and 54 for female). A high infant mortality rate is also evident with 51.7 deaths per 1000 births (University of Essex, 2008).

Economy The Orang Asli people live in forests, so they depend on trading the products of their forests with the Malays for salt, knives or metal axe-heads. Some tribes also trade in blowpipes and blowpipe-bamboo (Colin, 1997). They also rely on selling rubber or rattan, so the sources of their economy are not enough to make them live settled life. Out of the abject poverty, they dont like to send their children to school as they seek their help to work with them so as to earn their living (Kamaruddin, 2008). To sum up, they suffer from severe economic problems; there are no resources for a settled income. They are just struggling in this life to live. The government efforts towards the Orang Asli The government has carried out many projects to help for the settlement of the Orang Asli people; one of these projects is the Rancangan Pengumpulan Semula (The

Resettlement Scheme or RPS. The mentioned program addresses the scattered people here and there; it provides them with the necessary requirements such as housing, kindergarten, community halls, electricity, water supply and paved roads. Up to 2008 17 RPS were built to serve around 3,015 families. They were established by the Department of Orang ASli Affairs or JHEOA. Moreover, the government of Malaysia in its seventh Malaysia development plan launched the PPSK( village recruitment scheme) to develop the quality of life for the people; 217 PPSK have been done under this program. (Ibid).

In fact, many other voluntary organizations were also established to help the Orang Asli people, for example the Centre for Orang Asli concerns (COAC), the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Association (POASM), and the Indigenous Peoples Organization (IPO). All the fore-mentioned organizations were established to help the Orang Asli people, and provide them with welfare. They also defend their rights.(ibid)

Casting light on education system in Malaysia Education is highly prioritized in Malaysia. The government has a clear vision and plan for the educational system. They know well that the only way for the development of any country can only be achieved through good and high standards of education. All people in Malaysia have the right to receive education regardless of their race, belief or economic status. From age 4 to 6, children attend pre-schools whether they are private or governmental ones. There used to be no specific curriculum, but since 2003, a national pre -school curriculum has been made compulsory for all pre-schools. Primary education is compulsory and free for all children. The national language (Bahasa Maeyu) is used

as a medium of instruction. Yet there are Chinese and Tamil schools where Mandarin and Tamil are respectively used as media of instruction. In 2005, more than 96% of primary-aged children were enrolled in schools.

Secondary education is also free, but not compulsory. The language of instruction is Malay. Enrolment rate is still good; girls outnumber boys in joining secondary education (81% for girls in comparison to 77% of boys, in 2005)

Post-secondary education: There are two types of programs; the first is Form 6 or matriculation programs to prepare students to join public universities; the second type is the diploma-level programs which are offered by private colleges or polytechnics to prepare students to join private universities or the job market. According to 2000 census, more than 91% of population is literate. N.B. The above mentioned data are taken form UNICEF Malaysia Communications, 2008.

Casting light on education for Orang Asli Children: Dropout Rate In 2008, only 30 percent of Orang Asli students were able to complete their secondary education. (JHEOA 2008) Many of the Orang Asli students drop out of school at grade six. For the year 2000 cohort, the highest drop rate was among those who range from year 6 to 7 (47.23 per cent, followed by grade 7 to grade 9 (23.26 per cent). Then grade 9 to 11 (24.27 per cent) (JHEOA 2008) , cited by Nor et al., (2011). Studies showed that only six percent out of those who join the primary school 1 are expected to reach Form 5 eleven years later. Also, in the transition period from

primary 6 Form to 1, the dropout rate is high; in 2003 out of 3,333 Orang Asli children who finished standard 6, only 1,869 progressed to Form 1(Kamaruddin et al., 2008).

History of Education among the aboriginal people of Malaysia Before 1995, education was the responsibility of the Department of Orang Asli Affairs. They were taught by teachers who are not trained well (JHEOA,2009), cited by Nor et al.(2011). In 1995, the Department of Orang Asli Affairs passed the educational program to the ministry of education (MOE). The ministry spared no effort to promote the schools; they allocated MR 45.5 million to better the schools, but there is lack of qualified teachers because the qualified ones dont like to go there as a result of the lack of facilities in these schools and because of the environment which is not education-oriented one. Nor et al (2011).

According to Nor et al 2011, in spite of all that there is relative increase in the number of students who enrolled in schools. In 1994, around 13,200 joined the primary school, but in 2009 the number doubled to 27,348. The same fact applies to secondary schools, students number increased from 2,694 in 1994 to 9,124 in 2009.

Since 1957, the time when Malaysia became an independent state, the government of Malaysia has carried out lots of programs to develop the quality of life of the Orang Asli (aboriginal people). The government is concerned with delivering good education to every Malaysian including the Orang Asli. Although the number of those children who enrolled in primary or secondary school increased in the last decade; yet the dropout rate is still high. This has been due to many reasons like culture, school


location, poverty, pedagogy and many more (Asri, 2012). Outsiders usually look at the Orang Asli people as stupid, dependent, lacking confidence in themselves (Tijah et al., 2003). In fact this shouldnt be the picture we are portraying for them, but we should go deeper to analyze the situation. Moreover, As a matter of fact poor education means poverty, and since they are suffering from low performance in education, they consequently remain the poorest in the country (Nadchatram 2007). It means that without education, Orang Asli will stay confined in the circle of poverty. However, the outsiders have a false perception on the Orang Asli community and did not expect the real problems and challenges which the community is facing. Not only they suffer from lack of educational means like TV programs, educational toys, studying materials, revision books, ..etc., but they also lack educated parents who can lead them to the right path (Wong & Perumal., 2012). In fact, they lack a good

example to follow a father or a mother who has the knowledge to instruct and lead her kids.

So to put the facts clearly, we should admit that the level of education among the Orang Asli people is still at a poor level. The main stream of the Orang Asli people get formal education only at the primary level. Yet many of those who attend primary schools drop out at the secondary school. Hence, only two percent have been successful in proceeding their higher education in tertiary institutions. Many reasons stand behind that attitude of rejecting education like the students' attitudes, awareness among parents about education, local culture, school leadership, school environment, and problems related to the teaching and learning process. Some students from the Orang Asli in Kelantan did an effort to understand the case better. They did a research which focused on students' perspectives based on the questions:


What are the teaching and learning methods often used by teachers? What are the common problems related to the teaching and learning of the Orang Asli students? What are students' perceptions toward the teaching and learning methods used? The research involved four Orang Asli villages in the state of Kelantan. Data collection was through interviews, focus group discussion and observation. The respondents included children and young adults. Results showed that teaching pedagogy are generally stereotyped and unable to stimulate students' interest. The common problem in the teaching and learning is related to the attitude and commitment of teachers in the teaching and learning process. The implications of the problems and teachers' attitudes are significantly associated with degrading interest among students on education, issues of attendance and students' academic performance. (Marof et al., 2013). Case Studies Many case studies were done on the Orang Asli. For example (Nah, 2006) mention a quasi-experimental study which probed into the impact of Shared-book Reading (SBR) on the progress of vocabulary and oral narrative skills of young Indigenous Malaysian children learning Malay as a second language. Sixty three (63) Orang Asli children from two first-grade classrooms participated in the study. One of the classes was randomly assigned to implement SBR sessions while the other served as wait-listed control. Prior to the intervention, all students were assessed on a gradeappropriate literacy screening test (LINUS I), a Rapid-automatized naming task (RAN), and a Children's Non word Repetition Test (CNRep). After a five-week intervention, all students were assessed on vocabulary and storytelling. Results showed that experiences of SBR accelerated Orang Asli children's oral Malay language production and increased their level of word-meaning knowledge.


Specifically, the SBR group performed significantly better than the control group on the word-defining task. They also produced more coherent, higher quality narratives in a wordless picture story-telling task. They told the stories with greater oral rate which contained significantly greater vocabulary diversity. These results altogether yield significant inferences for the literacy instruction practices of Orang Asli children Bemen Win Keong Wong & Christopher Perumal, 2012 carried out a case study on the students of a primary school of Orang Asli village which is at Pos Senderut, Kuala Lipis, Pahang. Method of collecting data was through observations and in-depth interviews with the parents, students and teachers in the case study area. Pos Senderut is located in the Mukim of Ulu Jelai and consists of 19 villages with a population of 2846. According to the paper, most people dont have permanent jobs, they work on hunting , rearing some goats and sheep and planting some trees. People live in half brick and half bamboo houses. They dont have power supply. They dont either have a source of clean water. In fact, they are suffering severly. The school in Pos Senderut has 34 teachers and 606 registered students in 2011. This includes a total of 150 students who are staying in the school hostel. Because of the limited capacity of the hostel, it only could accept students who live far from the school. In the meantime, those who are staying nearby can walk or use the transportation provided by JAKOA to commute from their home to school and vice versa. According to the JAKOA Annual Report (2010), RM2.7 million has been allocated to provide transportation to the Orang Asli children in Pahang to commute between home and school in 2010. According to the study, children dont have always the chance to join kindergarten, besides the language barrier as they speak their own local language (Bahasa Semai); they cant speak Bahasa Malaysian. So students cant talk or participate in the class due to the language barrier. They unlike the Malaysian students, dont take their


books or notebooks home as the book might be torn. This significantly affected the learning process. The study concluded that the environment is not suitable for a good educational process. They lack facilities and infrastructure, there neither a power supply nor a good source of water. Teachers should find new ways of teaching which dont depend on text since the formal education is a matter of wasting time. According to the study, parents are aware of the importance of receiving education, but they can do nothing as they themselves dont have any educational background; students always complain about the teachers and say that teacher dont teach and that makes parents angry. So the infrastructure should be improved; besides, teachers should create new methods of teaching.

The pre-mentioned study shows that there are main challenges for us to improve education; like how to develop the infrastructure and the social and economic circumstances the Orang Asli people live; secondly, there should be national seminars or conferences to find new methods of teaching which enhance students and make them develop better.

Government efforts to improve education among the children of Orang Asli In fact the government, represented by the ministry of education, has done great efforts to improve the quality of education received by the Orang Asli children. Many programs were launched to help them. In the next few lines we will mention some of them. 1. Pensiangan Salinatan Program


This program was launched in 2003; its goal is to improve the academic achievement of the Orang Asli students. It also aimed at improving the teachers and the schools. In the mentioned year, schooling was made compulsory for all these who age 6. 2. ITEs are programs tailored for teachers to qualify them to teach the people of Orang Asli. It is an in-service teacher education program. It also aimed at preparing courses which could improve the educational standard of the students in terms of reading, writing and Arithmetic. 3. The Pensiangan-Salinatan Model of Remote Schools Teacher Professional Development Program (PMPS) This program aims at improving the the standard of teachers who live in remote areas in terms of knowledge with the subjects they teach, the pedagogy of the aboriginal people and their personal skills. Teachers are offered short courses which are delivered by ITEs.

The out-reach programs These programs were tailored to improve the literacy among the Orang Asli students, and in accordance with National Education Quality Result Areas (NQRAS) needs, thats to master the 3Rs after three years of primary education by 2012. These programs are the following ones: 1. Reading and writing intervention class (KIA2M) program

This program was launched in 2005 to improve the literacy of the Orang Asli students in their national language (Bahasa Malay), to improve their skills in reading and writing. This program doesnt only teach them reading and writing in Malay, but it also teaches them physical education, music and visual arts. Twelve hours were assigned to teach Malay. Students sit exams during three or six months; those who


pass the exam will join the mainstream of students, but those who fail the exam have to repeat it. Those who fail for the second time are sent to remedial classes to learn the basics of reading and writing. So the program is useful and effective and targets the first grade students trying to put them ahead on the steps of the educational process. A part of the program is also to train teachers and lecturers. A briefing also is given to parents to let them know about the importance of the program. In spite of all these efforts, the program did not achieve the prospected success as the percentage of students, who repeat the exam many times and unable to pass the exams, is very high, close to 50 %. Its said that many factors contribute to such a low level in spite of the efforts done; like, the great number of students inside the class, and sometimes the absence of commitment from the part of teachers or principals. 2. LINUS Program

This program was introduced in 2010 to replace the above mentioned one; it aimed at teaching them the basic numerical skills. 3. The integrated Curriculum for Orang Asli and Penan Schools (KAP)

This program targeted the 3Rs. It aimed at promoting the educational level of these students, putting in consideration how to make the curriculum match the socioeconomic needs of the Orang Asli students. The aim of the program was how to make students eager to learn, how to love school and how to acquire good morals. Three modules were taught according to this program; namely, lets go to school Module, Malay Language Module, and Mathematics Module. These three modules were selected by experts



The UNICEF organization came up with new technique in 2007; thats, to teach pupils (around 6,000) reading and writing thru story telling. According to Indra (2007) children of the Orang Asli love stories because it triggers the imagination area in their heads. Its one of the best techniques to teach those students through songs, stories and folklore.

Conclusion Orang Asli are people who contribute to the population of Malaysia, but they have different nature and culture. They live in isolated areas; they have their own style of life. They belong strongly to the life of primitives. They dont have much concern like other people about such a fast and technological life. They seek simple life which is far away from the complications of other people. They must be looked at as a whole not in parts, they are part of that natural life, forests and jungles. We cannot separate them culturally or emotionally from that life. Orang Asli have their own beliefs and thoughts which are not easy to be changed. They believe in superstition and spirits. They lack the ability to get exposed to this modern life.

Orang Asli do not believe so far in the new methods of technology, even for medical purposes. They think that spirits can do better than medicines. They suffer from a lot of health problems; some of these problems are no longer considered as diseases, they dont feel that skin diseases are serious diseases which should be addressed. They dont feel that postpartum deaths are due to lack of treatment. Yet they consider the apparent serious diseases as liver or kidney diseases as serious because they can affect the norms of their lives. They prefer take-home medicines than hospital admission.


Orang Asli suffer from extreme poverty due to many factors which have been discussed in the previous pages. They depend only on the natural resources; they are not qualified to do any kind of work apart from that related to their forests. They suffer from economic problems; they live under the poverty hardcore. Yet they dont complain a lot.

Orang Asli people face the three destructive factors; poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, and diseases. They lack the motivation to learn; thats why the drop rate am ong them is so high. However, the only way and exit to get away from such deep sorrow, abject poverty and suffering is education, learning and knowledge. The teaser is how can we motivate those people who suffer from a lot of things to receive education. A big obstacle is their inability to grasp or assimilate the school information and knowledge. Another obstacle is the lack of financial ability to spend on education. Moreover, they dont have the ability to conform to routine everyday classes. They are not used to stay in a closed room to listen to a teacher talking for a long time. Another important factor is the cultural factor. I mean, they dont realize the value of education and the parents of young boys or children prefer their kids to help them in collecting wood or selling some products than to go to school. Students or children do not find the supportive environment inside their houses. There are no rooms allocated for them to study in; there is no parent who follows the educational progress of his child. We cannot disregard the role of teachers either. It is really a kind of challenge to find qualified teachers who feel that they are doing a mission, not just salaried job. They should know and realize the difficulty of their mission and they should be ready for it. So motivation for teachers should be there.


To sum up, I can summarize the reasons of the illiteracy and poor educational level among the Orang Asli children in the following points: 1. The economic level, poverty, health problems, lack of facilities at homes or

inside their villages, lack of infrastructure like water supply, electricity, transportation means and internet 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The lack of enthusiasm among parents and their children The cultural factor Poor academic progress Inability to learn in a traditional way inside classes Lack of motivation from the part of some teachers

So how can we address the above-mentioned problems? In fact I would like here to refer to the fact that the government has done great efforts, but the result is not that prospected one. Anyhow let me put my ideas ahead in the following lines wishing to contribute to solving the problem. The first problem, the poverty and infrastructure problems can be addressed by the government. There should be grants and loans to the poor based on scientific methods like statistical information. There should be projects and enterprises which conform with the ability and needs of the people. There should be salaries for those poor people who cannot afford the costs of life.

Another mission which lies on the shoulders of the government is providing means of transportation to make those people mix with the other civilized society. Also, clean water supply should be provided to those people as this will lessen their suffering and lessen their being caught by diseases. Electricity is no longer luxury thing. They should be provided with electricity supply. Internet is not considered nowadays a


means of entertainment; it is like water and electricity. So they should be given access to internet, and be trained how to use it.

The second problem, thats the lack of enthusiasm among parents and children, can be solved by motivating children and their parents. They can be given monthly salaries which make them feel satisfied. They should also be exposed to examples of welleducated people and how they succeeded in their lives. They should see a successful example whom they aspire to be like. Documentaries and videos can help in that. Children and their parents should be taught about the value of education and literacy. We should come down to their levels in our spoken discourse. We should give them examples of how important to read road instructions, banners, leafletsetc. we should get their attention to the fact that when they learn nobody can deceive them, and they can demand their full rights and be given these rights. Also another source of motivation for those children and their parents is to buy them new clothes and gifts. We can do a lot to make them feel the blessing of being literate and educated.

The third problem, the cultural factor, is a very important one. We need to increase the cultural awareness among the Orang Asli people. There should be tailored programs for them to give them access to the outer world. They should be taught about their country. They should feel belongingness, they have to feel that they a part and whole of this society. Entertainment programs should be conducted for them; programs related to their folklore and cultural heritage. We should try to merge them in society. Importance of getting knowledge should be highlighted. We can also select some distinctive people from among them to help do the mission. We can also relate their natural life to basic sciences and knowledge.


The three other problems, I will discuss them together as a part of the program I propose to improve the literacy among the Orang Asli people:

Proposed program to improve literacy among the Orang Asli Name of program: Learning is Fun Location of study: anywhere where the Orang Asli live. Number of students: 10 per class. Duration and time: 8 weeks; July and August. Age group: 7 to 8 years.

General objectives: To make students feel that learning is fun, and that education is an interesting activity; something they do with feeling of happiness. Specific objectives: They are expected to achieve the following objectives: 1. 2. 3. Be able to read in English. Identify the main parts of a sentence Learn some vocabulary

Materials & Methodology: Teaching materials: tailored curriculum, posters, visual aids, flash cards, TV, video. Circles, visits, games, out- class activities. Teachers: high-qualified ones who are selected carefully with much knowledge about the culture of the Orang Asli. Teaching days and hours: From Monday to Thursday. 5 hours a day with breaks between each two classes (from 8:00 to 02:00).


Procedures: The distribution of the objectives will be as following: Week 1 Phonemic awareness It includes word and syllable awareness; word rhyming; phoneme matching; segmentation; blending Week 2 - week 4 Alphabet knowledge It includes learning consonant (beginning and ending ones); vowels (short and long ones). It also includes teaching blending of letters to give different sounds. It also includes teaching silent sounds Week 5 Word families It includes teaching pupils how to map words to learn vocabularies; namely, how to put them in families. Week 6 It includes teaching parts of speech, prefixes, suffixes, contractions, Week 7 & week 8 Review of what has been taught Note: it is important to teach vocabulary throughout the whole program, but few vocabularies every week.

Strategies to achieve fluency Focus should be on modeling, and practice. There should be continuous assessment. The following strategies can be used:


Choral reading Echo reading Repeated reading Partner reading Reading in words; then phrases; then sentences.

Assessment of students There should be a progressive report; besides, there also should be daily, weekly, and monthly assessment.

How to make learning fun When we speak about literacy or education, we should consider three variables; the student, the teacher, and the media of teaching (the subject content; facilities). Let me start with the media of teaching; mediums of teaching include the book and the facilities inside classes, or let me say the educational environment. Orang Asli children should not be taught the same books taught to their counterparts; a tailored curriculum should be designed for them. Books which address their culture, and they should be full with illustrative pictures. Those illustrative pictures should be inspired from their natural life. Examples should be drawn from their society. Books should be colorful.

Talking about classes, they should be well-prepared. They should have enough facilities like TVs, videos, data show means and educational aids (like posters). Classes should be the best places for students to enjoy their time. Number of students


or pupils inside classes should not be high (no more than 10 students) so as to give the teacher the chance to deal with each student as a particular case.

Now, lets move to the teacher who is a very important element in the educational process. We should consider two factors related to the teacher; the first one is how to motivate a teacher, and the second one how to have a qualified teacher.

Motivating a teacher needs a lot of efforts from the part of the government. For example, salaries of those teachers should not be the same ones given to their counterparts, but they should be three or four times of the salaries of teachers given to their counterparts who work in city. Well-prepared means of transportation should be available. There should be also sports centers, gyms, swimming pools and means of entertainment for both teachers and students. Medical centers and social clubs are not less important. Social gatherings should be planned from time to another. Having teachers who are motivated to work will help in achieving the program because every positive attitude will be reflected on students.

The second point is the selection of teachers. Teachers should be carefully selected. They should have the particular qualifications for such a kind of mission. He should be interested in his work, and he is ready to endure some difficulties to teach those students. It is better if teachers are from districts near to the Orang Asli, and it is highly preferable if they speak their language. Teachers should be first given courses or lectures to orient them about the culture of these people. They should know everything about Orang Asli; the way they speak, their foods, their clothes, their taboos, their likes and dislikes. It is a good hint for a teacher to be able to socialize


with Orang Asli. Its good if he can share them some meals to show them he is close to them. To conclude teachers should be highly qualified in terms of majors, previous experience, languages they master, character or personality. It is a must for a teacher to be tolerant, sociable, patient and committed to profession.

Talking about the student, we should know well that we are dealing with students from a different type. Students first should be dealt with carefully, especially in sensitive areas. Students have to feel that a school is a place for fun, entertainment and knowledge, but not a place for exams. They shouldnt sit regular exams; an alternative is the progress report made by teachers. They can be evaluated inside the class by a teacher without formal exams. Teaching should not be through reading and writing only, it is better to be through games related to their cultures. They can be given tailored exercises for them to help them improve.

Motivation for students is a very supportive element. They can be motivated by giving them examples of good people who did well. They should also be given prizes and grants from time to time. Students who do well should be highlighted and supported to be a good example for the other students. Good students can be used to help the other weak students, and this should be highly used. Pair and group work should be supported. Teachers should use the encouraging words all the time. Students have to be taken on trips either for fun and to make them contact and socialize with society, or to give them some kind of knowledge.

A crucial point which can be raised is to find some people from the Orang Asli themselves who can help their relatives. We should try to select some distinctive


people from them who can support the other students because they will be closer and nearer to them. They will be the nucleus to merge the Orang Asli with the other people in society. Those distinctive people should be highly supported in terms of money and facilities. The government can also make a kind of competition among teachers like for example a teacher who is able to teach a certain number of students will be receiving a certain increment, his salary will be raised, and his efforts will be appreciated.

Assessment of the program Questionnaire will be given to students to fill out; this questionnaire will reflect their attitude towards the program. Another tool for assessing the program is reviewing the performance of the students in the progressive reports. Students also can be interviewed to see their feedback of the program.


Supplement Teachers can follow the following steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Ask students to repeat after them (in chorus) Ask each pupil to read the letters on the board. Use flash cards to check that students can recognize letter. Relate letters to sounds. Each day the pupil is supposed to learn two letters only, so the six letters can

be taught in three days. 6. In the fourth day, the teacher should review with his pupils what they have

learned. 7. Focus should be on games, and songs (suggested games are below, and many

others can be downloaded from the internet) 8. 9. The teacher can allocate the last two classes for games outside the class. Video games, YouTube can be used to make them listen how letters are

pronounced, and to make pupils get exposed to such a kind of technology. 10. 11. school. After the first two weeks, the teacher can go with his pupils on a trip. Pupils should not be asked to do homework; they should be given exercises at

Activities: Fun Letter Game This fun letter game for kids tests your problem solving skills while helping improve your recognition of the English alphabet. Match letters together in either rows or columns to eliminate them from the grid. How far can you progress through the puzzle? Can you clear the grid? Letters drop into new positions as you solve the


puzzle, enabling an element of strategy to help you on your way. This free letter matching puzzle is perfect for students and anyone interested in interactive English activities online.

Classroom Scrabble Activity This activity is based on the classic board game called Scrabble, the teacher makes tiles with letters on themay. Pupils are asked to create words from the letters, and they accordingly win points.

Animals of the alphabet. Use this printable worksheet to write down the names of animals starting with as many different letters of the English alphabet as you can, for example C for Cat. Dont worry if you cant think of animals starting with difficult letters such as X. Find a range of printable English worksheets, classroom ideas and free ESL resources to use in your lessons right here at Fun English Games. Pupils should be taught words related to their culture.



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