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October 14, 2013

Malaysia

Malaysia: Fulbright ETA programme grows bigger

teach-English-in-Malaysia.jpgThe Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme in Malaysia is set to become one of the world’s largest when it expands to 100 volunteers next year.

The successful programme now has 75 volunteers in rural classrooms in Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Perak.

Expressing support for it, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said English was a global language and speaking it was an advantage.

He said the programme was an opportunity for students to boost their confidence in the language.

“It teaches confidence and changes lives,” he told reporters after meeting with local students and their American ETAs at a hotel here yesterday.

Kerry said the programme was also an enriching experience for American college graduates who volunteered to spend nine months teaching in schools here.

“I really admire these ETAs. Thank you for being part of this remarkable programme,” he told the volunteers.

New York native John Greisler, 24, who is based at SMK Slim in Batang Padang, Perak, said he signed up to continue teaching in Malaysia for another year.

He said his students, who included orang asli from the Semai tribe, were initially very shy but he eventually managed to get them to speak.

Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange executive director James Coffman said the Fulbright ETA programme, which started in Malaysia in 2005 with just 15 volunteers, became a federal programme funded by the US and Malaysian governments after a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2010.

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