After the successful inaugural implementation of its ‘English for Everyone’ (EFE) programme in Ho Chi Minh City in April 2010, Mercy Relief (MR) completed a further two runs of the EFE, which were implemented simultaneously, at the provinces of Thai Binh (Vietnam) and Vientiane (Laos) last week.
The 7-month Programme includes a two-prong approach. First, introducing an improved and appropriate teaching methodology called the Teachers of English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) through a series of teachers training workshops. Thereafter, the teachers will be guided in their deliveries to the students, with the focus on instilling higher confidence in the students to learn and use English. A total of 160 teachers and 18,100 students from more than 90 institutions from the two countries across all levels, ranging from primary schools to the universities, participated in this round of EFE. In Thai Binh (Vietnam), the EFE programme was targeted at students from the lower primary school level while the 9,600 students in Vientiane (Laos) were from the high schools and colleges.
Speaking to 800 students at the inauguration ceremony at the Lao Institute of Economics and Finance in Vientiane, MR Deputy Chairman Ong Bon Chai said, “The limit of a man’s language may limit his world. This Programme is committed to equip our young with the necessary and relevant knowledge and understanding of the English language, which would place them in better stead to gain access to broader and valuable information which is substantially contained within the English medium.”
‘English For Everyone’ focuses on proficiency and confidence in English – (From L to R) Dr Cu, Rector of Vietnam’s University of Finance & Marketing; Director-General Phongsavanh of the Lao Ministry of Finance, and Mercy Relief’’s Deputy Chairman Ong Bon Chai.
‘The limit to a man’s language may limit his world’ – Mercy Relief’s Deputy Chairman Ong Bon Chai addressing 800 students at the closing ceremony of the project at the Laos Institute of Economics and Finance in Vientiane, Laos.
Students showcasing their proficiency and confidence in English –As part of the EFE programme’s impact indicators, students have to make audio-visual presentations in English on general issues of the world. (From L to R): Mercy Relief Chief Executive Hassan Ahmad, Head of Vietnam’s University of Finance Mike Que and Director-General Phongsavanh of the Lao Ministry of Finance evaluating a presentation by a group of high school students in Vientiane, Laos.
Students showcasing their proficiency and confidence in English –As part of the EFE programme’s impact indicators, students have to make audio-visual presentations in English on general issues of the world. (left): Mercy Relief Assistant Director for International Programme Jaffar Mydin evaluating a presentation by a group of primary school students in Thai Binh, Vietnam.
The closing ceremonies in both countries saw the students showcasing their confidence and proficiency in English, which were evident through the audio-visual presentations that they delivered with much ease and composure.
Incidentally, in April 2009, during his visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, Singapore’s then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew shared that one “short cut” that would help Vietnam improve its economy more readily was to make sure that its students master the English language. They could learn from foreign teachers and pass on their skills to fellow Vietnamese.
EFE was implemented in collaboration with MR’s two main partners – the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Management Studies (CSEMS) and Vietnam’s University of Finance and Marketing (UFM).
About Mercy Relief
Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.
In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.
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