FOR the fifth time in as many years, Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) Bhd has come forward to support Star-NiE's mission to improve the English language proficiency of students.
The largest life insurer in Malaysia is giving RM10,000 to sponsor The Star for 50 schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Perak, Penang and Johor over a period of five months.
At a mock cheque presentation ceremony held at Menara Great Eastern, Star Publications (M) Bhd senior circulation manager G. Damodaran commended the company for its continued contribution, which started in 1998.
He said Great Eastern's decision to play a part in The Star's Newspaper in Education (NiE) programme was a sign of confidence.
“Great Eastern and Star-NiE have forged a successful partnership as many schools are looking for sponsorship for NiE lessons. Even at a subsidised rate of 60 sen a copy, many poor students cannot afford to purchase the paper for their English language lessons,'' he said.
The cost of producing the newspaper is far more than its published price, he added. “We are able to subsidise the cover price through advertising revenue.”
He also highlighted several Star-NiE projects, including yearly contests, like the Best Newspaper Awards 2003, which have been made possible through the kind sponsorship of several companies. This year's partner-in-education is Hotlink from Maxis.
Damodaran told students gathered at the function to treasure their copy of The Star and utilise it according to the objective, adding that every sponsored copy would carry the Great Eastern logo.
In her speech, Great Eastern vice-president (human capital services) Margaret Fong said it was a great pleasure for the company to be a part of the Star-NiE programme again this year.
“At Great Eastern, we want to share our Life is Great! tagline with the community at large. In this respect, we have been organising and supporting charity projects and scholarship awards for needy and deserving students, art and photo competitions, children's forums and investment in our young through long term projects, like The Star's NiE programme, that promote the learning and use of the English language through the medium of newspapers in schools.”
Fong said that she was confident that the creative and innovative activities carried out during NiE lessons will stimulate and sustain students' interest in the language, In line with this, the company had also sponsored a Star-NiE workshop at Menara Great Eastern in June.
Students and teachers from two of the schools that will be receiving sponsored copies of The Star from Great Eastern – SMK Hulu Klang and SMK Padang Tembak – were and took the opportunity to thank the company personally.
Form Four student Izuan Idris designed a huge “Thank You” card, using pictures and stories cut out from The Star, and presented it to Fong.
Teacher Gurdarshan Kaur of SMK Padang Tembak said that The Star is useful in teaching letters, reports and descriptions. “We don't throw away the old issues as they can still be used to teach these skills.”
SMK Hulu Klang teacher Fauziah Ibrahim said sometimes they have to resort to photostating the newspaper, as some students could not afford to buy their own copy. “Students prefer to read The Star; the size is really convenient and the content is not as heavy as other newspapers.”