Two thousand schools worldwide have signed up for a pen-friend scheme.

Young English learners of India unite — you have nothing to lose, but hundreds of friends to gain around the world. That’s the message behind a project launched by Cambridge University to connect schoolchildren in India with those in 40 other countries whose first language is not English through a global pen-friends scheme.

“Delhi Public School in Bangalore East, Chettinad Vidya Mandir in Karur (Tamil Nadu) and National Academy For Learning in Bangalore are among 2,000 global schools who have signed up for the pen-friend scheme. The initiative has already seen successful pairings between schools in India and Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic,” said a spokesperson of Cambridge (ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages), a non-profit body which conducts examinations for non-native speakers of English.

Under the scheme, teachers are given a classroom activity to carry out with their students, such as designing and sharing cards with learners at other member schools. Children are encouraged to include some English words in their design to help them with their language lessons. The scheme is built around the idea that learning should be fun.

“When young people learn English, it’s important that it’s done in an environment that is fun, practical and engaging. This has been the driving force behind the project, which is already proving to be very popular,” said Lorna Pedersen of Cambridge (ESOL).

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