Smart Cadet English Camp once more a huge success

Education proves fun at this year's language-learning break

The Smart Cadet English Camp 2012, organised by the Bangkok Post Foundation (BF) and Siam Cement Group (SCG), has been hailed as another great success. Scores of blind and sighted students who attended the English-language tuition camps held recently in Bangkok, Khon Kaen and Hat Yai say they enjoyed the experience so much they hope it will be repeated.

SCG English language scholarships were awarded to students from Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani provinces. They are pictured receiving their scholarships from Supakorn Vejjajiva, president and COO of Post Publishing Plc, from Pichai Chuensuksawadi, chairman of the Bangkok Post Foundation, and Tanawong Areeratchakul, vice-president —corporate administration, SCG.

There is a good chance of that happening because of the camps' continued tradition begun in 2007 to help needy students learn English. The success of that project led to similar camps being held in 2008 and 2011 as well as this year, which saw record participation by 160 students between the ages of 13 and 16, and their guardian teachers.

They included the children of families of army and police officers and teachers affected by the violence in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani. In Bangkok, they stayed at the Petcharawut Vittaya Uppatham school in Bang Khen which has many useful facilities. For students from schools for the blind in Khon Kaen and Hat Yai, the English camps took place at their respective schools, which are equipped with Braille facilities.

Classes were taught in English by experienced native speakers from Fun Language International Institution as the idea was to encourage youths to speak English as a "fun language".

The English camp was also held to coincide with the Ministry of Education's project to encourage "English Speaking Development in the Year 2012".

This project involves teachers and school children nationwide and strives to develop English-speaking skills in preparation for the Asean Economic Community in 2015.

Students also learned about the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the basic geography of the 10-member countries, their peoples, religions, cultures, traditions, festivals, sports, cuisine and natural resources.

But it was not all work and no play as students from the South were taken on a tour of Bangkok, which included Madame Tussauds wax museum. They were also treated to a buffet lunch at Centara Grand at CentralWorld.

The closing ceremony, which took place at the Bangkok Post Foundation offices, also saw SCG and Post executives present 10 scholarships to those who did well. Similar ceremonies were also held at the Khon Kaen and Hat Yai schools for the blind where some pupils were found to excel at English.

Siam Cement Group and the Bangkok Post Foundation have long realised the importance of giving opportunities to the less fortunate to learn English. The Smart Cadet English Camp 2012 marked an important step in achieving that goal.