By HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH and AUSTIN CAMOENS
The 50 national schools, of which 39 are primary schools, along with 22 Chinese, seven Tamil and four religious schools, have been receiving copies of The Star since July 13.
The project, sponsored by Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, is aimed at boosting English-learning among students in the district and helping them to master the language.
Speaking to some 600 teachers and students recently, Abdul Ghani said although Bahasa Malaysia was important, students should also learn and master the English language.
“One way of mastering English is by reading, and I urge students in Ledang District to pick up the habit,” he said when launching the project at SMK Tengku Mahmud Iskandar in Sungai Mati on Friday.
About 460 students from the participating schools, who attended the launch, showed they were grateful to the state leader for providing the newspapers.
Besides encouraging them to read and master the English language through the NIE project, the newspapers gave those in the rural areas a chance to read The Star.
A Form Five student at SM Sains Muar, Muhd Danial Abdul Rahman, recognised the importance of mastering English.
He said that schools should place emphasis on learning English and the lessons should include pronunciation, comprehension, essay writing and building vocabulary.
“Reading the newspaper will help us discover new words and phrases,” he said.
Foo Zhi Qian, a Form One student from SMK Tengku Mahmud Iskandar, likes reading newspapers to gain knowledge.
She said that newspapers helped her keep abreast with current issues, both national and global.
English language teacher Nursyuhada Nan, 25, said the NIE programme was a good way to help students read and learn the language.
She said that some students were not keen on reading as they felt it was boring, adding that lighter content and attractive materials would keep them focused on their lessons.
Muar-Ledang Education Department officer Ramli Abdul Samad said that teachers faced tough challenges in this age of information technology.
However, he said they should continue being committed and always improve their teaching skills with new technologies to better impart knowledge to students.