The U.S. Embassy opened six new site English Access Micro scholarship Programs across Nepal in Dang, Janakpur, Gulmi, Dhading, Banke and Kathmandu . U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz opened the program in Namgyal Middle Boarding School at Swayambhu.
According to a press release issued by the U.S.Embassy in Nepal, the Access Program provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13-16 year-olds from economically disadvantaged sectors. Through two years of after-school classes and intensive sessions, the Access Program gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States.
“While the Access Program focuses on English language skills and American and Nepali cultures, it also educates students in career development, community service, computer skills, critical thinking and leadership skills, including raising students’ awareness of human rights and gender equality. Every Access class is comprised of ten boys and ten girls, and there is gender balance among the teaching staff as well. It’s a program we’re really proud of,” said Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz.
The Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA) is the primary implementer of the program in Nepal, currently hosting the program in nine locations. Two other program providers, Himalayan Roots to Fruits and the Himalayan Society for Youth and Women Empowerment, also implement one program each. Access currently reaches 440 students in Nepal and has produced approximately 600 alumni since it started in Nepal in 2011.
“What I like most about the Access Program is the way it can help the students see their own potential to improve their circumstances as well as that of their communities,” said Kunjarmani Gautam, the Access Program Coordinator at NELTA. “Our teachers use a student-centered, content-based, communicative approach to language teaching that has proven to be quite successful in motivating our Access students. Because of this intensive support, nearly 100% of our Access students pass the SLC.”
Since its inception in 2004, approximately 95,000 students have participated in the Access Program in more than 85 countries .