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Unimas To Offer Iban Language Degree Programme To Address Teacher Shortage

Unimas To Offer Iban Language Degree Programme To Address Teacher Shortage

Unimas’s Iban Language degree programme helps to address the shortage of qualified Iban language teachers in Sarawak.

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Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) plans to offer a Bachelor of Education in the Iban language for the 2025/2026 academic year.

Its vice-chancellor Prof Dr Ahmad Hata Rasit said the programme is offered to address the shortage of Iban language teachers in Sarawak and to empower the teaching of the Iban language.

The Education, Language, and Communications faculty will offer the programme.

The faculty is also working to establish the Department of Bornean Languages, encompassing languages such as Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, and the Sarawak Malay dialect.

Additionally, Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas, who’s also the university’s pro-chancellor, said Unimas will introduce another Iban language programme, Bahasa Iban for the Communication Profession.

This course will be offered as an elective during the first semester of the current academic year.

According to The Borneo Post, the shortage of Iban language teachers has been a prevailing issue.

Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira said only 352 teachers out of 2,662 teachers are trained and qualified to teach the Iban language while 2,310 are not properly trained.

Gira said only 79 out of 502 Iban language teachers are qualified in secondary schools. In comparison, 423 teachers still need to receive proper training.

He reiterated the importance of having trained teachers to ensure better teaching quality of the subject.

The Iban language is a cultural and linguistic asset that should be given priority by the Ministry of Education. It is not only an ethnic language but a language owned by all Malaysians.

Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira

Datuk Dr Jayum Jawan, Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Political Science professor and Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow, agreed that the Iban degree programme is vital and noted the instances where non-specialised instructors had to step in to teach due to the shortage of trained teachers.

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