John Keells Foundation holds English Day 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

On Monday, 25 August, the John Keells Foundation’s English Scholarship Program held its English Day 2014 at the Bishops College Auditorium. The event provides a platform for the John Keells English scholars from all over Sri Lanka to showcase their talents through performance, therefore building self-confidence as well as interacting with students from various parts of the country. The John Keells English Language Scholarship Program, owned and managed by the John Keells Foundation and implemented through the Gateway Language Centres, was launched in 2004 with the aim of enhancing the English language skills of school children and youth from economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds in order to improve their chances at higher education and sustainable employment. The organisation has sponsored a range of scholarships including the internationally recognised two-year Edexcel Diploma Program. In 2013-14, a total of 1,462 scholarships were on offer under the ‘English for Teens’ program aimed at providing progressive English language training for school children, with a total of 1,387 students from various districts completing the course. The performances at this year’s English Day were in two categories: poetry and drama. Many items were familiar favourites, such as ‘Cinderella’ (performed by the Matale branch) and ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou (performed by the Ratnapura branch). Student impressions of the program were glowing, with one student praising the John Keells Foundation for helping students from remote areas, most of whom come from farming families and cannot afford to pay a great deal for their education, with their scholarship program. The Chief Guest at the event was Indrani Sugathadasa, the Chairperson of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka. Sugathadasa previously served as the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, and in her speech stressed that simply learning the English language wasn’t enough. She said: “You need to constantly use the language as well – if you don’t use it you will forget it. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes.” Pix by Shehan Gunasekara