The champions from SMS Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra with Universiti Malaysia Terengganu vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar (standing eighth from left, first row).

PARTICIPATION in a choral speaking competition may not be a usual way in raising awareness of marine biodiversity protection among school students.

But Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) believes that it is an effective medium for reaching out to the young.

The university, which has core expertise in marine sciences, recently organised a choral speaking competition themed “Oceans Priorities” to promote marine conservation. It was held in conjunction with the World Oceans Week UMT 2019.

UMT vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar said the competition not only exposed students to the importance of conserving marine biodiversity, but also strengthened their proficiency in English through reading, writing and speaking.

“In terms of scriptwriting, students studied and read materials related to the competition’s theme — Ocean Priorities — and this would attract their interest and enhance their knowledge and awareness on marine conservation, climate change, oceanographic studies and related topics,” she said.

Professor Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar

“Indirectly, we also had the opportunity to introduce UMT and its expertise to some 40,000 fully-residential school (SBP) students and 33,000 MRSM students.”

Mohamed Azhar Mohamed Harith, who is the Education Ministry’s Fully-residential Schools Management Division senior assistant director, said the choral speaking competition was the third such event participated by SBP students since 2017.

“The competition this time around was fierce as the students competed with their MRSM counterparts for the first time. But it is a healthy competition, in which their soft skills were nurtured through self-confidence, communication and creative writing, especially in English, as it is an essential skill for every student to develop before they enrol in university,” he said.

“Participating students could also develop their potential in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), particularly marine sciences.”

Professor Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar

Mara Secondary Education Division principal assistant director Tanty Kesumadewi Yusof said choral speaking was one of the enrichment programmes that could bring out students’ skills, creativity and talent through scriptwriting.

“This is the effort, awareness and appreciation that students can show and share with the community in preserving oceans with the support of parents and teachers, as well as Mara as an educational institution,” she said.

“UMT has created another platform that creates a positive impact on society through educating the younger generation on conserving and preserving the environment. In line with this knowledge, skill, awareness and responsibility, these students will be able to help the country, as well as the world, in overcoming environmental issues.”

Out of the initial 69 SBPs and 51 MRSMs, 10 schools successfully reached the finals on July 15 at UMT campus in Kuala Terengganu.

Mohamed Azhar Mohamed Harith

The schools included SBP Integrasi Gopeng, Sekolah Seri Puteri Cyberjaya, Sekolah Menengah Sains (SMS) Muzaffar Shah, SMS Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra, SMS Miri, MRSM Kuantan in Pahang, MRSM Baling in Kedah, MRSM Pasir Salak in Perak, MRSM Gemencheh in Negri Sembilan dan MRSM Kota Putra in Terengganu.

SMS Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra in Kota Baru, Kelantan, represented by 25 students, emerged the winner, taking home the UMT vice-chancellor’s tropy, RM1,500, a plaque and certificates.

Second place went to Sekolah Seri Puteri Cyberjaya and SMS Muzaffar Shah took third place.

The prize for the best conductor went to Arissa Hadirah Ahmad Zaimi from Sekolah Seri Puteri Cyberjaya.