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KOTA KINABALU: Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick wants Yayasan Bank Rakyat (YBR) to forge cooperation with Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) to finance students enrolled in the Kadazandusun language programme at the university.

He said the foundation, an agency under the ministry, also plays a role in supporting educational development, including providing flexible financing to students in need.

In this regard, he viewed the proposed funding initiative as a means to attract more young people, especially from Sabah, to learn the Kadazandusun language.

“I propose a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between YBR and UPSI as an encouragement for students at UPSI or others who wish to pursue their tertiary studies in the Kadazandusun language.

“I’ll be visiting UPSI in January (next year), and I was made to understand that discussions between YBR and UPSI have been held earlier and the MoU is being finalised. I wish to see it signed,” he told reporters here last night.

Ewon was met after officiating the Kadazandusun Language Teacher Award Ceremony and the Recognition of Kadazan and Dusun Language Advocates organised by Yayasan Bahasa Kadazandusun in collaboration with the Sabah Education Department and the Curriculum Development Division of the Education Ministry.

He said the cooperation also aims to ensure that there is no shortage of Kadazandusun language teachers in secondary or primary schools in Sabah, adding that currently, UPSI is the only university offering this field of study at the degree level.

At the event, former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok received the Tokoh Pejuang Bahasa 2023 award for his dedication and experience in the government’s implementation of teaching and learning the Kadazandusun language in primary schools in 1994 and secondary schools in 2006.

The award was also given in recognition of his contribution as one of the pioneers and key figures in the establishment of Yayasan Bahasa Kadazandusun in 1994, as well as his efforts to increase literary works in the native language.–Bernama