Tokyo aid helps Malaysia solve Japanese-language teacher shortage

Nna/kyodo

Japan has granted a Malaysian school $68,985 in financial aid for teacher training to ease a shortage of Japanese-language instructors in the nation.

The funding via the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia will be used to upgrade laboratories and training rooms as well as to purchase new computers and books at the International Languages Teacher Training Institute in Kuala Lumpur, according to Hiroyuki Orikasa, deputy chief of mission at the embassy.

“Many high schools and universities in Malaysia provide Japanese-language classes, but they are facing a shortage of instructors,” he said last week at a handover ceremony for the grant.

In the predominantly Muslim country where Malay, Chinese and English are spoken, the number of Japanese-language learners totaled 33,234 in 2015, up from 22,858 in 2009, according to an embassy survey.

“We see no sign of slowing down,” Orikasa said.

The aid has been extended through Grant Assistance for Cultural Grassroots Projects offered by the Foreign Ministry to provide support for the promotion of a wide variety of cultural and educational projects in developing countries.

Nagalingam Karuppiah, director of the training institute that has 75 students, said it was “honored to become the first school in Malaysia to be granted the aid,” adding that he believes it will help the institute carry out cultural and higher education programs.