CfBT was founded over 30 years ago and it currently has operations in over 20 countries, with regional bases in Malaysia and Brunei, the Middle East, East Africa and the USA, as well as its head quarters in the UK.
CfBT Mission Statement And Values
Our overarching commitment is to education which enables individuals, institutions and communities to achieve their maximum potential. We recognise that, in teaching and learning, clients and beneficiaries are often not the same people. We aim to meet the needs of beneficiaries and communicate our perceptions of those needs to our clients.
CfBT is a not for profit organisation. We value:
- Developments which are inclusive, innovative and sustainable.
- A strong skills and knowledge base.
- The empowerment and development of all our staff.
- Individual and corporate responsibility and accountability.
- Open and effective communications.
- Professionally led and well-managed service delivery.
- Diversity and the application of our global experience to all that we do.
- Business disciplines.
CfBT’s services range from short term consultancies to management of multi-million dollar projects and include:
- Primary, secondary, tertiary and adult education and training.
- Curriculum and course design and implementation.
- In-service teacher training.
- Recruitment, management and development of teachers, managers and specialist educational consultants.
- Development of teaching resources and material, both software and paper based.
- Development of testing and examination systems.
- Design and delivery of training for business and industry.
- Inspection and quality assurance services for schools.
- Management of career services.
With the reintroduction of English as the medium of instruction for Maths and Science subjects, CfBT has been asked by the Matriculation Division of the Ministry of Education to recruit and manage a pilot team of native speaker Science and Maths lecturers, to work in selected Matriculation colleges.
Two of the team are based in the Penang college, and the other two in Malacca. These lecturers will be delivering lectures and tutorials in Maths, Physics Chemistry and Biology, and providing professional as well as linguistic support to their local collegues, as well as inputting relevant methodology.
In Malaysia, where English is viewed as a second language, there has been a general decline in the standard of English over the past 20 years, and this is particularly apparent in rural and semi-rural areas. As a result, the Malaysian Government is currently implementing a number of initiatives designed to address the imbalance. CfBT, a registered charity, and one of the UK’s largest provider of educational services, is working closely with the Curriculum Development Centre at the Ministry of Education, to recruit and manage two project teams.
The first comprises 32 District English Language Coordinators, who work out of the Education Offices of medium sized provincial towns. They liaise with District Officers, School Heads, Heads Department, English teachers and students, to determine what obstacles hamper the effective learning of English in Primary and Secondary schools. They are examining ways and means of encouraging change within the school culture, so that motivation for learning English improves, students recognize the importance of English, and are encouraged to use it outside the classroom as well as in. The team field a wealth of experience and expertise, which is optimized through a sharing of ideas, experience and resources, both through the Internet and through regional and central meetings. The DELCs are delivering a series of core courses and workshops for local teachers of English which develop pedagogical and methodological skills, and the teachers own personal language skills. Along with this comes an increase in confidence, enthusiasm and commitment to English teaching.
A comprehensive needs analysis was undertaken in Bentong District, based on the written responses of 170 English teachers, and interviews with 50 teachers. This has yielded an in-depth picture of what teachers perceive as the principal problems they face in the language classroom.
The second strand is the ten CfBT Project English Teachers, who work in Government residential secondary schools for gifted students. These students perform well in their academic subjects, but are below par in English. These expatriate native speaker teachers of English serve three vital functions in their schools; they provide native speaker input for teachers and students; they input new ideas and approaches in the language classroom, and they encourage the use of English outside the classroom, in co curricular activities.
The CfBT teams are privileged to have the opportunity to play a key role in these changes which are taking place in Malaysian education. The ripple effect of our efforts will without doubt have a significant and sustainable effect on education in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Education System
The main medium of instruction in national schools and universities is the national language, Malay or Bahasa Melayu. At present the structure of formal schooling follows roughly the same pattern as the U.K education system.
|Primary education||6 years||6+ to 12+|
|Lower Secondary education||3 years
|12+ to 15+|
|Upper Secondary education||2 years|
|Exam: SPM (‘O’ Level equivalent)|
English is a compulsory subject in all 11 years of primary and secondary school. There are normally six 40-minute periods of English per week.
The school day is from 7.45 am to 1.00 pm (morning session) with one break of about 20 minutes. Some schools, because of space constraints, will have an afternoon session as well from 1.15pm to 6.30pm. Students and teachers attend either one session or the other, not both!
District English Language Co-ordinators (DELCs)
There are currently 33 DELCs in the project. The DELCs’ main task is to help encourage and develop ELT in all aspects, including:
- teacher training
- materials development
- extra-curricular activities in target districts.
DELCs liase at state, district and school levels with State and District Education/Language Officers, School Principals/Heads, Heads of Departments, and local teachers, to find ways of effectively improving motivation and methodology.
They also deliver in-service courses to both specialist and non-specialist teachers to upgrade their qualifications and expertise. Courses are delivered in training centres (PKGs) or in designated schools with groups of up to 24 teachers.
Core courses and workshops developed, and currently being delivered include:
- Classroom Management: Alternatives to Translation
- Cooperative Learning Course – Primary & Secondary
- English Language Teaching Methodology
- Teaching English Mainly Through English
- In-Service English Teacher Training for Non-Optionists
- Speaking Practice for Non-Optionists
- Making Literature Meaningful
- Introduction to Writing Skills
- Teaching Early Readers
- English for Assemblies
- District-based Examination Format Change-Listening
These courses have all been designed and written by the DELC team. As courses are delivered, improvements are made, based on feedback from both teachers and trainers. On completion of courses, the trainees are awarded certificates.
The DELC team are divided into regional zones. Annual and regional meetings allow the team to meet regularly, and materials and ideas are regularly exchanged and updated on the project Zone of the CfBT Malaysia website.
Over the past 20 years Malaysia has experienced phenomenal modernisation. Even in very rural areas one will find not only the most basic of amenities such as piped water and electricity, but also Internet access, air-conditioned shops, reliable public transport, satellite as well as local TV and cellular phones.
Eating out is a national pastime in Malaysia, and no wonder with such a wide variety of food (Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, and the list goes on) and prices to suit everyone’s budget. Even in the smallest towns fresh meat fruits and vegetables are cheap and readily available. Even small towns have supermarkets that stock some imported goods.
Many Malaysians are interested in sports. All schools offer a variety of sports activities, from football and field hockey to martial arts. Most towns also have sports clubs which expatriates can join.
As with all new places, it will take time to make friends and there will also be a bit of a language barrier. However, Malaysians are very friendly, hospitable people and most will be quite eager to get to know someone from a country they’ve only learned about in school and never really experienced.
Most Western expatriates living in smaller towns find that they rely much more on their own resources for entertainment than in the European context. The nightlife in larger towns and cities is good, with plenty of leisure facilities, including clubs, pubs, restaurants, cinemas etc.
Cost of Living
As with many countries, the further away you live from major cities, the cheaper your cost of living becomes. House rental and the cost of eating out, for example, are significantly cheaper in smaller towns, compared to Kuala Lumpur, the capital.
Malaysia lies between mainland and island Southeast Asia, straddling the trade route between East and West. It is divided into two parts, separated by the South China Sea. West Malaysia occupies the Malay Peninsula, between Southern Thailand and Singapore, while East Malaysia occupies the northern third of the island of Borneo. Peninsular Malaysia is roughly the same size as England. Sarawak is almost the same size as the Peninsular, while Sabah is slightly smaller.
The climate is tropical, with temperatures ranging from 70ºF to 90ºF (26ºC-34ºC), with plenty of rain, usually over short periods. About three- fifths of the land area is covered with tropical rainforest, with a huge variety of flora and fauna.
The official religion is Islam, though other religions, notably Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity are practised and tolerated.
The official language is Malay, although English is widely spoken and most business is transacted in English.
Malaysia came into being in 1963 when the Federation of Malaya merged with Singapore and the two British-protected states of northern Borneo. Singapore became an independent city-state in 1965.
The first British footholds in Malaya were on Penang (1786) and Singapore (1819) which were joined with Malacca in 1824 to form the British crown colony known as the Straits Settlements. The Straits Settlements became a crown colony under direct British rule. In Peninsular Malaya, the nine Malay states were ruled indirectly, with residents managing in the name of a Malay ruler. Sabah was managed by a chartered company, while Sarawak had Brooke as its “white raja”.
Following World War II, there was a swift transition to independence in 1957, and the creation of Malaysia. The United Malays National Organisation was formed, which is the dominant political party in the country.
Malaysia is unique, as a federal monarchy, whose head of state is selected from the nine rulers, for a term of 5 years, after which the title goes to another of the rulers. Its parliament is modelled on Westminster, with two houses. Elections are held every 5 years.
The population of Malaysia is estimated at about 25 million, of which more than half are Malay. There is also a sizable Chinese community (approx. 26%), as well as a significant Indian one (approx. 8%). There is also a large aboriginal population, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak. In the past the Malays, for the most part, predominantly lived in the rural areas and the Chinese lived in the larger cities and towns. However, urbanisation is increasing rapidly in Malaysia, and is significantly changing population distribution as the younger rural generation seek better opportunities and living conditions in the cities. 33% of the population are aged below 15.
Malaysia is at the high end of the list of developing countries. The Prime Minister’s “Vision 2020” is geared toward Malaysia achieving developed country status by the year 2020. Malaysia ranks third in per capita income in Southeast Asia, and is in the top 5 in Asia as a whole. The standard of living is among the highest in Asia, with the exception of Singapore, and there is a fast-growing middle class. One of the main reasons for the rapid changes has been the change from an agrarian-based to a manufacturing-based economy. Much of the manufacturing is in high tech industries, Malaysia being the third biggest producer of microchips. An indicator of this is a comparison of the export of electronic products in 2002 (15.5 billion ringgit) and the export of rubber products in the same year (100 million ringgit)
The official language is Malay, although English is widely spoken and most business is transacted in English. Malay is a relatively easy language to learn. The grammar is fairly simple and the script is Roman. Unlike English there is a straightforward script/sound correspondence.