America starts world’s biggest free English classes at NUML

National University of Modern Languages (NUML)

ISLAMABAD: Access Summer Institute 2012 was formally inaugurated at on Wednesday amidst folk and cultural performances to give a glimpse of enriched heritage of soil and theatrical performance of classic English literature.

The Access Summer Institute 2012 is being held with the collaboration of NUML and US Embassy in Pakistan under the English Micro Scholarship Programme, which is funded by the US government for two years in 85 countries of the world. In Pakistan, it’s the world’s biggest programme, as more than 7,000 persons, including English language practitioners and children between the ages of 14 and 18 years, are attending free classes. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Mitchell Moss said that “English is a bridge across cultures and it brings us together. English may not be the only language to help you compete and bridge cultures, Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, French, German, Chinese, Russian, Turkish, Arabic or any language can serve these purposes. The more languages you know, the better you are positioned to succeed in life to survive gladiator’s arena the world has become.”

He further said that people-to-people ties are as important as the government-to-government relationships. “I am proud of the fact that the US is helping Pakistani youth to develop English skills in order to develop a new world of opportunities and openings.” The purpose of the programme is to bring the practitioners and students at par with highly proficient English-language practitioners and students. Presently, the programme is functioning in more than 24 cities of Pakistan and two programmes for English language teachers are going on in NUML, while another for underprivileged children at a local hotel. Annie Polatsek, David Malatesta, David Bohlke and Susan Strand are conducting teachers’ training at NUML.

The programme in NUML was started on June 17 and would last until June 29. It was formally inaugurated on Tuesday and was attended by Public Diplomacy Officer Mike Guinan, Laura Brown, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Rob Raines, Information Officer Brent Beemer, Cultural Affairs Officer Nathan Edgerton and many other US officials from its Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar consulates. Prior to the start of the programme, the participants – students from NUML’s regional and Islamabad campuses – took the audience into the world of fancy with their folk, cultural and literary performances and made them feel the aroma of the culturally enriched soil of romance and fables, Pakistan. Arshad Ali’s all exotic Punjabi Tappa “Chala mera ji dhola”, all-time hit Saraiki song “Bismillah Karan” and a song narrating the story of “Sassi-Punu”, by Shahid Abbas, made many nostalgic about the rustic and pastoral life on the bank of the River Ravi.

“Yeh Watan Tumara Hai”, a tribute to Mehdi Hassan by Irfan of Bahawalpur, Sindhi folk song by Ibrahim and the folk songs in Pashto and Balti languages made the event absolutely entertaining and fun-filled. Moreover, theatrical performance on one of English literary classics “My Fair Lady”, by NUML Faisalabad campus students Ejaz Ahmed, Ateequr Rehman, Sajjad Mehmood, Noorul Aain, and Amina Hussain was a treat among treats. Speaking at the occasion, NUML Rector Maj Gen (r) Masood Hasan appreciated the initiative by US Embassy, saying it would be great help to Pakistani English language practitioners to get access to the latest English language teaching techniques and develop professional interaction and share their experience of teaching language, he added. In the end, English Department Associate Professor Dr Shaheena Ayub Bhatti expressed thanks to trainees, trainers who have come from all the corners of the world, officials of US embassy and consulates, students and participants for contributing for such a useful programme.-Dailytimes