KEMAMAN, TERENGGANU, 29 JUNE 2013 : Some 140 Year 6 students from Kemaman today completed a 2-day study camp organized by the East Coast Economic Development Council (ECERDC) at Cheneh Recreation Resort, Bandar Cheneh Baru, in preparation for the upcoming Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination.

Known as “Aim For The Highest”, the academic camp was one of the initiatives implemented under the empower ECER Academic Training programme which was aimed at improving the academic performance of students from low-income families in Kemaman through academic guidance and motivational coaching.

“Aim ForThe Highest” was officiated by Air Puteh assemblyman Y.B. Tuan Haji Wan Abdul Hakim here today.

ECERDC has earlier organised similar programmes in 2012 for UPSR students, namely “Kem Kendiri 1Malaysia” and “Full Dress Rehearsal Camp” in Terengganu, which had helped contribute towards the 100% passes rate among its participants in the state. In 2012, out of 160 participants of empower ECER programme who took their UPSR exam in Terengganu, 41 managed to obtain 5A’s.

“We are confident that this academic camp will provide a tremendous boost to the participants of empower ECER Academic Training programme, particularly in helping them achieve better results in their upcoming UPSR exam,” said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.

The students who attended this camp were from six primary schools in Kemaman, namely SK Chukai, SK Kijal, SK Kampung Baru Jerteh, SK Lembah Jahor, SJK (C) Kuala Kemaman and SK Air Putih.

Dato’ Issace said such UPSR study camps would help complement the existing Academic Training programme implemented under ECERDC’c empower ECER initiative which offers free tuition and motivational classes.

“Most of the students are children of fisherman and rubber tappers, whereby they will be coached and guided by experienced trainers appointed by ECERDC. We are confident that the empower ECER participants in Kemaman will achieve 100% passes rate in this year’s UPSR, with more students obtaining straight A’s”, he added.

During the “Aim For The Highest” camp, the students were exposed to the correct techniques of answering examination questions, as well as effective learning methods and time management. They were also given pointers on avoiding common errors made when answering examination questions. Apart from that, they also participated in confidence- building activities in order to bring out their potential.

The empower ECER programme was first introduced in Terengganu in 2011, starting with Kemaman, with plans to expand the initiative to Dungun in the latter half of 2013. To date, there are 400 students attending the Academic Training programme in Kemaman, of which 160 of them are UPSR candidates, and another 400 adults participating in the Skills and Entrepreneurship programme.

empower ECER is 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 ongoing transformation.

empower ECER is also being implemented in Bentong, Temerloh, Raub, Cameron Highland, Lipis, Kuala Pahang in Pahang; as well as Jeli and Bachok in Kelantan.

To date, a total of 18,686 participants, comprising 11,261 students and 7,425 adults have benefitted from empower ECER. All former participants of the Academic Training programme have recorded a 100% passes rate to date, while for participants of Skills and Entrepreneurship Training, 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.