The Deputy Director of the American Centre in Kolkata, Juan Clar, visited Shillong and interacted with 25 students of the English Access Microscholarship Program at Hill Crest School in Rynjah here.
The program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) under the US Department of State. It provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged 13-25-year-olds.
Clar interacted with the students on Monday to motivate them on their Access journey.
The students, through their powerful presentations on Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me’ and a skit on climate change, highlighted how the Access classes have empowered them to think critically, enhanced their public speaking skills and are grooming them to be real changemakers in society, as they become the newest link in advancing Indo-American friendship.
Inaugurated in September 2018, the Access Program is the first of its kind in Meghalaya, managed by provider Guwahati-based Sishu Sarathi. The last program brought together students from ethnic backgrounds to acquire 21st century skills, learn and become future leaders in a dynamic learning environment.
Access students also gain an appreciation for US culture and democratic values. Upon completing the program, they are eligible to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the US.
Since its launch in India in 2004, Access has reached over 1 lakh students, with 1,800 currently enrolled in it. Through Access, students receive at least 360 hours of English language instruction over two years from trained teachers who use student-centred approaches to emphasise active learning.
Access alumni are regularly selected for other USG exchange opportunities, including the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, the Benjamin Franklin Program, and the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program. In addition, both teachers and students are eligible to participate in other ECA exchange programs specifically designed for Access alumni.
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