KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN, 11 JUNE 2013: Some 100 Form 5 students from Jeli and Bachok who are participants ofempower ECER Academic Training programme took part in a one-day English Language Camp organised by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), held in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Malaysia here today.

Aptly named “Conquer English for Success with the U.S.Embassy”, the event was held at the Lincoln Centre in Kota Bharu’s State Library. This is the second time ECERDC is collaborating with the U.S. Embassy to offer an English enhancement programme for its empower ECER Academic Skills Training participants, following a similar programme conducted in March this year at the same venue.

Present at the event were Ms. Bonnie S. Gutmen, Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy, as well as two other representatives from U.S. Embassy, namely Mr. Imam Bashar Arafat and Mr. Ben Bradshaw.Apart from the learning experience, the programme exposed the empower ECER participants to the English-speaking environment of the Lincoln Centre which is also open to the general public.

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said previous feedback from empower ECERparticipants has shown that there is a need for them to gain proficiency in the English language, a compulsory subject in national examinations.

We therefore decided to work with the U.S. Embassy to conduct this course which will provide them tips and techniques on improving their English language skills, both written and spoken. “

A good command of English is deemed important as it is widely recognized as the language of business and knowledge. In addition, it is also the de facto language of the internet, which provides the students with access to learning sites and information, he said.

The Lincoln Resource Center, originally known as the U.S. Information Service (USIS) library, opened its doors to the Malaysian public on February 15, 1950. It has partnered with several local public libraries such as the Kelantan State Library to make available to the Malaysian public special Americana collections called Lincoln Corners/Centre. Today there are six Lincoln Corners in public libraries in

Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Kelantan and Penang.Today’s programme is also especiallybeneficial to the participants who will be taking their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination this year, in which English is a compulsory subject.

empower ECERis a twin-pronged human capital development initiative launched in 2010 by ECERDC which is aimed at reducing the economic disparities between rural and urban communities. It focuses on Skills and Entrepreneurship Training for adults and Academic Training for examination-year students in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER). The Academic Training targets academically weak students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enhancing their skill sets and improving their academic results so that they are not left out of the Region’s new prosperity.

empower ECER’s Academic Training programme involves remedial classes and motivational sessions for academically weak students sitting for the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and SPM examinations. They are taught learning techniques such as effective note-taking, mind-mapping, speed reading and other methods that strengthen the students’ powers of retention to enhance their academic performance while helping the students develop their soft and social skills.

empower ECER is also being implemented in Bentong, Temerloh, Raub, Cameron Highland, Lipis, Kuala Pahang in Pahang; as well as Kemaman in Terengganu.

empower ECER. Students to date have recorded a 100% pass rate, with several scoring distinctions. For adults, it is estimated that up to 80% of participants will gain employment after completing their courses or have sufficient knowledge and practical experience to start their own business, and the ability to generate income of between RM500 and RM1,500 per month, or even more.

To date, a total of 18,686 participants, comprising 11,261 students and 7,425 adults had benefitted from The empower ECER programme was introduced in Kelantan in 2011, starting with Jeli, and followed by Bachok in January 2012. There are currently 999 Academic Training participants and 400 Skills and Entrepreneurship participants in Jeli, and another 400 Academic Training participants respectively in Bachok.