Fifty teenage students from two schools in Jaipur belonging to underprivileged families have successfully completed a unique English language proficiency programme run by the U.S. Embassy’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The children, who have learnt the linguistic skills with distinction, were felicitated at a graduation ceremony here over the weekend.
The English access microscholarship programme, which started in September 2020 amid the pandemic, has sought to strengthen the foundation of language skills among the selected students and enable them to avail of educational and employment opportunities in future. The children selected for the initiative were in the age group of 13 to 16 years.
Twenty-five students each were selected from Mahatma Gandhi Government English Medium School, Adarsh Nagar, which is one of the flagship schools of the Rajasthan Government, and the Vimukti Girls’ School, providing education free of cost to girls from low-income families living in urban slums. After being taught in an online mode for more than a year, the students joined the after-school physical classes and intensive sessions in March 2022.
The programme, implemented through New Delhi-based Learning Links Foundation, adopted a communicative approach to teaching English, infusing a spirit of participatory learning among the children and helping them groom their personalities. The students also attended the regular school for Classes 8 to 10.
U.S. Embassy’s Cultural and Educational Affairs Counsellor Anthony Miranda, who gave away “achievement certificates” to the students at the ceremony, said their perseverance would open the door for higher education and scholarships in prestigious universities abroad. “Access will lead to accomplishment... The language proficiency will bring with it a matching expertise in your chosen fields of study,” Mr. Miranda said.
The certificates were signed by U.S. Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, A. Elizabeth Jones. Among others, the Higher Education Department’s Joint Director (Academics) Shaila Mahan, the U.S. Embassy’s Regional English Language Specialist Rachna Sharma, Dean of School of Humanities and Languages at Central University of Rajasthan Sanjay Arora, and members of the English Language Teachers’ Association of India were present.
The Mahatma Gandhi School’s Principal Sarwat Bano said the students selected for the programme had excelled in extra-curricular activities, with an all-round development visible in their personality, and they were winning awards in various other competitions as well. “Our students have developed confidence to overcome the impediments and improved their writing and speaking skills as well as critical thinking,” she said.
The students displayed their creative works at an exhibition organised at the venue of the ceremony. Interacting with the visitors, the students said they would strive to become “changemakers in [their] communities” and work hard to get higher education with excellence despite the challenging circumstances of their families.
The global microscholarship programme is operative in as many as 90 countries, where an assistance is provided for development of curriculum, textbooks and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching methodology. The students in Jaipur also participated in an “access intensive camp”, in which they interacted with the experts on cybercrimes and got tips on exchange and study opportunities in the U.S.