Three hundred students, all teenagers, cheered as the lady from the American Consulate rolled her tongue in typical American accent. Comprehending the speech of the Public Affairs Officer Juliet Wurr is no meagre achievement for the children, most of who are dropouts from school at an early age.
Resuming their studies through the vocational training institutes of CAP Foundation, the students are among the privileged few chosen for the ‘English Access Micro Scholarship Program’ funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with the objective of making the study of English more accessible to adolescents from an economically disadvantaged background.
A hundred of them have already finished three months of training, while a couple of hundreds will begin it shortly.
Those under training have now reached a comfortable level of understanding and communicating in the global language. All the 300 students between 14 and 18 years of age gathered on Tuesday to receive their participation certificates from the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Steven White who flew down from Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.White said English as a language would open up the world for the students.
“One million Indian students are studying in the schools of America, and some day you too may be one among them,” he said while encouraging the students to improve their language skills.
Ms.Wurr said the programme was funded by the American citizens.
Though being conducted in various other States, the programme has been initiated here on a pilot basis, informed Nalini Gangadharan, chairperson of the CAP Foundation, the local partner for the programme. The programme is of 360 hours duration spread over 20 months and includes creative writing and drama to enhance the language skills. It also familiarises the students with American cultural aspects.