KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — One hundred American participants of this year’s Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme will begin their 10-month assignments to assist Malaysian English teachers at secondary schools in nine states, end of this month.

US Ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said Melaka was a newly-added state for this year’s ETA programme and four ETAs will be stationed in the state, adding that other states included Kedah, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak.

“This is the most vibrant and clear demonstration of the relationship between US and Malaysia. The commitment of our (US) young graduates coming here and working with young Malaysians can be considered as an investment in the future because in 30-40 years, they will play more important roles in the relationship and understand each other better,” she told reported after hosting a reception for the 100 American ETAs, here last night.

The ETA programme is a joint bilateral programme administered by the Malaysia-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE), the Malaysian Education Ministry, and supported by the US Embassy.

It began as a joint effort between the US Department of States and the Terengganu state government in 2005, and was expanded by the US Embassy and Malaysian Education Ministry in 2012.

Lakhdhir said this year’s 100 ETAs were diverse and well represented the US in terms of states, family background, ethnically, education, experiences and geographically, adding that the programme also linked US companies through corporate social responsibility to support the ETA.

The envoy hoped to see improvements in this year’s ETA programme in terms of creative English language teaching with arts, sports and writing, adding that the US Embassy was committed to assist ETAs with tools to use to do some creative ideas.

In the past, we had English camps, social entrepreneurship competition, dance competition, marine and environment conservation programme. Our goal is to expand the opportunities and allow the ETAs to give different experiences to their students, where they had to use English and critical-thinking ability as well as creativity,” she added.

Throughout the year, the American ETAs will also run community projects and English language activities.