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Kadazandusun curriculum good start for the language
Published on: Sunday, July 30, 2017
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By Lorena Binisol
EVELYN Annol from Penampang did a pilot Kadazan class for school children back in 1994, which started as a tuition class in Donggongon.

When Tan Sri Bernard Dompok heard about it, he requested that she arrange for a similar class in another place.

Four of his children were in her class.

She noticed the younger generation was not fluent in speaking their mother tongue at the time.

She decided to take it on herself to preserve the language by conducting tuitions before it disappears as time passed.

She conducted her tuition for two years, and at the same time, Bernard brought the matter to Parliament.

It was approved by Parliament and Evelyn was called to be involved in developing further on the curriculum.

"Tan Sri spoke to me of his intention to pursue the matter in parliament which was approved.

The Head of the Academic sector then asked me to present my Kadazandusun curriculum. That was in 1995.

Evelyn started teaching in 1985. She was fully involved in teaching and implementing the Kadazandusun language in schools to tertiary level since 1994.

At present she is a lecturer in Kadazandusun language in Degree programme in IPGK Kent (Teacher's Training Kent Institute). She is also pursuing her PHD studies.

She stressed that "Kadazandusun" curriculum is a language and has nothing to do with race as in "Kadazan" and "Dusun".

It was the first ever meeting of the Education Ministry on a curriculum for teaching of the language and Evelyn felt proud of the effort by her and Dompok.

She said the first curriculum design was for primary students. The teaching started with Year Four students.

The pilot schools started on February 17, 1997.

She was relying on her training as a teacher to develop a curriculum for teaching the language.

"Being a teacher, I told myself that I must safeguard my mother tongue before it was totally forgotten.

She opined that the standard of Kadazandusun language is moving forward.

She was actively involved in setting the curriculum from primary to secondary schools up to tertiary level.

For a degree course in the language it takes five and a half years to complete.

Her first batch of students undergoing the Degree course comprised 18 individuals.

It would take five-and-a-half years to complete. They started the first intake in January 2014.

She credited her boss Datuk Mary Theresa Kinajil, who was the director of Kent Teacher's Training Campus, for playing a crucial role in ensuring the language of the ethnic is part of the curriculum.

"She (Mary) was the person encouraging me to carry on with the mission. Hence, the first batch of students taking the Degree course became reality.

"They are graduating by the end of this year. It has been a milestone in reaching this stage.

Taking five-and-a-half years to complete is not an easy task," she opined.

She attributed Dompok for the intention to make the language known by ensuring it became part of the curriculum taught in school. Today, it is on par with other language subjects such as Arabic and Chinese.

She said Dompok's contribution to the community was something to be proud of and said local people should acknowledge him for championing the cause for the good of the local community.

When Dompok came back from his duty in Vatican, recently, he met up with Evelyn and the first batch of trainees.

"Tan Sri was very pleased to note that our effort some 20 years ago was taking off very well.

The first batch of trainees are the products of our little conversation in 1994 which Tan Sri pursued and has now become a reality," said Evelyn.

When asked about the Kadazan dictionary developed by KSS (Kadazan Sabah Society) and how it could help, Evelyn said dictionaries are good as reference and guidance. She revealed that there have been many other dictionaries developed for other languages of the local ethnic groups such as Murut and others.

"I was very much involved in developing and researching the other local languages assisting those researchers to develop the dictionary. It has been really great imparting, assisting and sharing my knowledge with them.

"We in IPG (Teacher's Training Institute) collect and buy any types of Dusunic dictionary.

But all these are only good as a supporting reference. We are using the standard Kadazandusun language which is used in schools in the textbooks."

Asked her opinion on how to popularise the language to attract the younger generation, she suggested that language camps be organised where only Kadazandusun is used throughout the programme.

Another thing would be modernisation of songs in Kadazandusun language and holding Kadazandusun speaking month activities to entice the younger people, she opined. She is aware that some people have interest to teach the language and had conducted classes. She said when others have the passion to teach the language it is a positive thing.

"I am happy when some people are passionate about teaching the language.

I know Juliana (Jimis), she is a friend. I can see her enthusiasm in reviving this language.

It is heartening to know that she put in some effort and I guess many people are becoming aware of the language now," she quipped.



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