The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur
Since the Look East Policy was proposed in Malaysia in the 1980s, which is to take Japan and Korea as role models for the national development, Japanese has been one of the focused foreign languages in school education in this country. In regard to secondary education (equivalent to from seventh to eleventh grades in Japan), some of residential schools for the privileged students had already introduced Japanese-language education since 1984. The Ministry of Education Malaysia decided in 2004 to extend Japanese-language education to other general secondary education schools, and started to post Japanese-language teachers to schools in 2005. The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) is cooperating in the Japanese-language teacher training project. In this project, active teachers of other subjects participate in a training and internship course of about two and half years in Malaysia and at the Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa, before they are posted as Japanese-language teachers to schools across the country. As of June 2010, 85 secondary education schools, or approximately 4% of the total of about 2,200 schools nationwide, provide Japanese-language classes. For residential schools, 48 out of 56 schools offer Japanese-language classes, meaning that almost 90% of such schools are teaching Japanese.
Teachers spend one year out of two-and-half-year term at schools across the country as intern trainees, but there are not so many opportunities for them to encounter with lively Japanese. JFKL offers a year-long instruction by Japanese-language specialists via correspondence, as well as an intensive short-term training course to enhance their skill by communicating with Japanese people in Japanese as if they are in Japan. For five days from June 14 to 18, teachers gathered in Kuala Lumpur during school holidays to participate in a practical training of the language by visiting the Embassy of Japan, Japanese school, and Japanese department stores or having conversation with Japanese volunteers in Malaysia. At the end of the training, they shared their experiences with each other.
These teachers gave us positive feedbacks: "Having conversations with ordinary Japanese people was not as easy as I expected, but it was a good stimulus to our training." "I want to study harder to prepare for my training in Japan next year." "I want to have more chances to encounter with lively Japanese language by watching as many Japanese anime and TV drama series as possible."
We are looking forward to the day when participants in this training course become certified as Japanese-language teachers and teach the language at schools across the country.