BELIEVING that newspapers can be a powerful resource for improving the standard of English and general knowledge among students, insurance giant Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) Berhad generously contributed a sum of RM20,000 to The Star’s NiE (Newspaper in Education) programme recently.
Beginning with an initial sum of RM5,000 in 1998, the company has been steadily contributing every year to the programme (except 2002).
“We are proud to be associated with such a creative project that promotes the learning of English in schools,” said GELA director and chief executive officer Alex Foong after presenting a mock cheque to The Star’s deputy group general manager Datin Linda Ngiam at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya.
Foong expressed confidence that the creative and interactive lessons in the NiE programme would help to stimulate and sustain students' interest in the language.
“We believe school teachers will be able to apply literature and many other exciting elements to further enhance and introduce the “fun” in learning English.
“Without a doubt, reading newspapers will also help to increase the students' awareness of current political and economic issues, and develop a new generation of analytical and knowledgeable students,” he added.
The sum donated translated to 130 schools throughout Peninsular Malaysia receiving The Star every week over five months. Foong added that in line with being a responsible corporate citizen, Great Eastern would continue to show its care and commitment not only to its clients but also to the community.
“We have been organising and supporting charity projects and scholarship awards for needy and deserving students, children's educational camps, children's forums, and of course our investment in the younger generations through long term projects like The Star's NiE programme.”
“There is a need for companies like ours to help and support educational programmes that will build a strong foundation for youths,” he said.
The Star's circulation senior manager G. Damodaran said it was heartening to note the support from the private sector for schools which might not be able to afford newspapers. He expressed hope that such backing would continue to be forthcoming in the years ahead.
Representatives from five of the sponsored schools – SMK Seri Pantai, SMK Seksyen 4 (Kota Damansara), SMK Taman Medan, SMK Seri Utama and SMK Damansara Utama – witnessed the ceremony, while students from SMK Seri Pantai and SMK Seksyen 4 presented “Thank you” cards to Foong as a mark of appreciation.
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