Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) 2016

The Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program. The program began in 2006 as a joint venture between the Malaysian and American governments to promote cultural exchange between the two countries. In the first year of the program, 15 young Americans came to Malaysia to teach English in Terengganu. Since then, the number has steadily risen and now there are 100 American teachers in 8 states in Malaysia.

A celebration of the 10 year landmark was held in Kuala Terengganu on April 23rd. Gambilan music filled the air as 25 current and past ETAs, MOE staff, US Embassy staff and MACEE staff celebrated the monumental accomplishments of the past 10 years. A past student spoke about her experience learning English from her ETA in 2006. ETAs across Malaysia work daily on increasing student’s confidence in the English language at school through diverse activities and assignments.

In order to fully incorporate the English language into these communities, ETAs also spend time with their students outside of the classroom. English Camps are typically held over the weekend to further engage students in summer camp type activities. These camps can be as long as three days and they help develop the relationship between ETAs and students. Over the years, camps have included dance, music, art, leadership, cooking, women’s empowerment, and many other topics. Last year, MACEE facilitated the first ever international partnership between ETA programs. Twenty students from Malaysia were brought to Thailand for a joint two day English camp with 8 ETAs from Malaysia and Thailand. For the majority of these students, it was the first time they had met secondary school students from a different country.

Not only does MACEE work to send Americans to Malaysia, the Fulbright program also sends Malaysians to the United States to peruse PhD and Master’s Degree research through a variety of programs. Additionally, the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP) program began in 2007 with the goal of sending secondary school teachers from Malaysia to the United States for academic seminars focusing on new teaching, methodologies, leadership, curriculum development, lesson planning, teaching strategies and instructional technology training.

Further, last year, Malaysia saw a 6% increase in the number of students studying in the United States for graduate and undergraduate programs. After several years of stagnant numbers, this is surprising considering the falling ringgit. Currently, there are over 7,000 Malaysian students studying in the United States. MACEE is home to EducationUSA which provided comprehensive, unbiased information to prospective students interested in pursuing degrees in the United States.