Essex graduate and education innovator in Malaysia is finalist in British Council Awards

  • Date

    Tue 21 Jan 20

Dr Ho Sook Wah British Council finalist

Improving the lives of disadvantaged people in Malaysia through English language education is a passion for one of our linguistics graduates.

Essex alumna Dr Ho Sook Wah is a finalist in the Social Impact category of the British Council Study UK Alumni Awards 2020.

Dr Ho Sook Wah, who graduated with a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Essex in 2014, is now Head of the English Language Unit at Gamuda Berhad, a leading Malaysian engineering and construction company.

As a pioneering force in language education, Dr Sook Wah has helped working professionals, university students and school children improve their English language skills.

She is delighted to be a finalist: “I felt very honoured that the effort, commitment and passion of an educator is being validated!”

In 2019, Dr Sook Wah won the British Council Innovation in Assessment Award for her role in developing the Gamuda English Tests (GET), a collection of in-house diagnostic tests designed to measure English language abilities of employees at the company, and inform a targeted training syllabus.

Dr Sook Wah decided to use English language for social change when she studied at Essex.

She said: “One of my long-term goals is to be able to help and support children from disadvantaged families in Malaysia in their educational development and opportunities. My PhD thesis on vocabulary acquisition for Malaysian pre-school children from low income families was the first step in achieving this goal.”

For 2020 she hopes to improve the education and opportunities of young Malaysian learners with a child-led reading and development centre for disadvantaged children.

The British Council Study UK Alumni Awards 2020 awards ceremony in Malaysia will take place Kuala Lumpur on Thursday 6 February at 7pm.