The last two months were very exciting for EPOP, due to the fact that our recent semester has just finished in August and we started the new one in September. 66 students completed our course between February and August (you can see the different locations on the map below); we received 150 new applications for the second semester in August and started it with 183 participants from Myanmar, from along the Thai-Burma border and from Cambodia on 15th of September.
In August we gave more than 200 Diagnostic Tests in order to measure the improvement of EPOP’s students and the level of English of the new applicants. We were also curious to know our students' opinion and feedback regarding our work, hence we made a survey at the end of the semester among the students who studied with us from February to August. We are very proud to be reviewed by beneficiaries of your support, let us share some comments with you.
"EPOP provides effective help in the improvement of English skills especially in terms of TOEFL score, so I found that it is very useful and effective for the learners who are eager to attempt it in order to apply to the international university or for those who simply try to improve their English level."
"EPOP is the most effective online course I've ever learnt with and it is very easy to join it. EPOP helps me to improve my English Skills and to discover many opportunities. EPOP shows me the way to my dream. EPOP is the best online course ever."
We would like to say thank you for the feedback and also for your support that made the EPOP program possible.
Successful change-makers in 2014
Until now two EPOP students dream came true in 2014 winning scholarships to the university in Hong Kong. One of them is a committed teacher from Kayin State who is going to study Social Sciences and Public Policy in order to fulfill her plans improving the quality of the English language education in her community, as she said:
"I envision the initiation of two plans in my hometown for the betterment of a developed society. Firstly, I would like to establish a better English language center providing scholarships to poor-talented students in order to learn proper English language skills at the English center that I am hoping to open. Secondly, I would like to open an accessible local library intending to support students with affordable materials and better learning methods, because in my belief the only way out from the poverty and misfortune of my community is standard education."
The second successful scholarship winner is from Mon State, she is most interested in environmental education, and thanks to her engagement and enthusiasm she will have the chance to study Education and Social Science. We wish her all the best to achieve her goals in the close future.
"My ambition is to build an education center, where students can learn not only English but also about social science, in my home town. I want to empower the students in rural areas to take part actively in environmental conservation programs. Therefore, it is a great support for me not only in my further education but also in my future career if I could choose an environmental education program."
Without your help and support they could not have made these achievements. On behalf of our students and the project team, I would like to thank everyone who supports us.
If you have any questions about the project, or about our work, please do get in touch with EPOP.
With our best wishes,
We at Thabyay Education Network would like to express our gratitude to those who have supported our Exam Preparation Outreach Program's (EPOP's) project, 'Help 200 students from Burma study for university' on GlobalGiving.
Year 2014 started in a very dynamical way. In March, we launched a new semester with 189 students from Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia providing online academic English and exam preparation services to help civil society activists gain qualifications in order to support their work and pursue further studies.
Based on the progress of the students, EPOP had the chance to organize a Diagnostic Test for more than 100 students in order to track their development and to provide TOEFL ITP exam for students who reached their target scores. Despite the fact that we were in the middle of the semester, so far 13 talented EPOP students got selected to sit the TOEFL ITP exam in order to apply for scholarship in universities abroad, like it happened with 18 EPOP students in 2013.
Students are busy now with the weekly assignments focusing on academic reading, writing, and listening skills. They will get feedback on a previous essay submission and submit a forum assignment.
On behalf of our students and the project team, I would like to thank everyone who supports us.
If you have any questions about the project, or about our work, please do get in touch with EPOP.
With our best wishes,
The following is a postcard from Charissa Murphy, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Southeast Asia, about her recent visit to Thabyay Education Network in Myanmar.
Preparing future leaders of Burma, the Exam Preparation Outreach Program (EPOP) helps to get students of Burma ready to study at an international and university level. After spending some time visiting organizations throughout Burma such as Thabyay, the need for programs such as the EPOP is evident. The education system in the country focuses on memorization rather than on critical thinking and research. It is disheartening to pass schools and even homes where students are outside reciting over and over lines that they have to memorize for an upcoming exam. The deafening trance forced upon these students by the standard curriculum limits the people here from true development, thus limiting community advancement and reform.
Many of the students who complete the EPOP progress onto the full time residential Kant Kaw course in Yangon, which is taught in English, thus further preparing them for both 1)international university education abroad for some of the most passionate, underprivileged students and 2)a strong background in modern community development.
I met with some of the Thabyay staff at the Kant Kaw Education Center in Yangon. Organized and full of energy, the students of the Kant Kaw Education Center under the Thabyay Education Network are evidently excited about being a part of such a change-making and empowering organization. The Kant Kaw Education Center walls are lined with photos of smiling, enthusiastic, and motivated individuals and groups of students. As I study each photo, I feel excited about the future of these leaders. It is apparent that the focus here is both on individual, as well as group and community development.
Before meeting with the program leaders, I chatted with two young ladies, Khine and Ma, who were using the computer and printer resources. One of the girls, an almuni, still seems dedicated to the Foundation and active in its continued success as she utilized its resources and shared research tips with a current student. Their pride in being part of the inspiring and life-building knowledge gained through the programming beamed through their smiles when I asked, "How have you liked being a part of Thabyay?"
Classes weren't in session when I arrived at the center. The students had class in the morning, and in the afternoon they attended an Education Fair being held in Yangon. Providing opportunities inside and outside of the classroom for learning and growth is part of the culture Thabyay provides, and the EPOP is really a starting point for the students of Burma to develop their education and to help strengthen their communities.
As the Myanmar government is undergoing changes in many areas, including education reform, Thabyay desires to continue its reach, and seems to serve as an organization of strong respect and model-setting for alternative forms of education and leadership programming. The fully dedicated and enthusiastic staff wants nothing more than to be able to continue inspiring and opening opportunities for the youth of Myanmar. From all different ethnic and religious backgrounds, the students are learning to work together to build opportunities for themselves and others after many years of conflict and restriction. Not only are they learning to work together, but they're actually doing it! After my meeting at Thabyay, I met with three other alumni of the EPOP and Kant Kaw Education Center who are now teaching English at Parliament and really enjoy the opportunity to teach and help build their country together.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt
2013 was a terrific year for our students and we are looking forward to an exceptional 2014. In the last year we were able to provide course services to 354 students studying from 18 different locations in Burma including Yangon Division, Mandalay Division, Kachin State, Chin State, Shan State, Mon State, and Arakan State, as well as all along the Thai-Burma Border. We administered over 700 English diagnostic tests both paper-based and online and 133 Official TOEFL ITP exams of which students received official transcripts usable for university entrance. Over 70 of our students achieved a high enough score for university entrance on an official TOEFL test and have received or are now applying for scholarships. We could not have made these achievements without your help and we are deeply thankful for your donations.
"I would like to thank you so much for your help in helping me improve my English and get a TOEFL certificate. I received a scholarship and am now studying for my master's in public health. My dreams are coming true and I could not have done this without your help. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!" -May Thet
This is the last month of our current semester which will end on February 10th. During that short time, students will be very busy. They will be completing their weekly assignments focusing on academic reading, writing, and listening skills. They will get feedback on a previous essay submission and submit a forum assignment. They will take two online vocabulary quizzes, a major review quiz, and a final exam. Most of our students are working full time for their communities so this takes great commitment and motivation. Hard work does not go unnoticed. Students who pass their course will be invited to take a final practice TOEFL exam and if they score close to their target score, they will take an official TOEFL ITP exam and receive a score report that they can use for university and scholarship applications.
We are extremely excited for the possibilities of this New Year as we continue to improve and expand our educational services to dynamic young change-makers. On behalf of the project team and our students, I would like to thank you again for your support and look forward to continuing our work together in 2014.
With our best wishes,
We at Thabyay Education Foundation would like to express our deep gratitude for your support the Exam Preparation Outreach Program's (EPOP’s) project, 'Help 200 students from Burma study for university' on GlobalGiving.
At EPOP we understand that progressive development in Burma depends on the education of its youth. EPOP’s clients are dynamic young change-makers working for their communities who have a strong motivation to increase their capacity through pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degree within an international program at a quality university. Here at EPOP we design, implement, and facilitate the online academic English and university exam preparation courses that get them there.
September has been an exciting month for EPOP. We started our fall semester with 64 new students and 123 continuing students from 9 different states and divisions in Burma. Our customized online courses are built for students working full time. We provide students the books they need. Students then access our online portal to view their weekly assignments, check their homework, participate in online forums, submit essay assignments, take online tests and quizzes, and access additional study materials. EPOP students are given diagnostic tests (available online and in paper formats) to assess their improvement twice per semester. Students who demonstrate sufficient ability on diagnostic tests are given an official English proficiency exam (TOEFL ITP). They receive an official TOEFL ITP score report that can be used to apply to numerous university and scholarship programs throughout Asia. So far, in 2013, EPOP has administered over 700 diagnostic tests and 95 official TOEFL ITP exams. We would like to hardily congratulate the 73 students who have taken the official TOEFL ITP and reached their required score for university entrance this year.
Ei Thin Zar is from Mawlamyine, Mon State. When Ei Thin Zar joined EPOP’s Academic English 1 course in January 2012 she was teaching English at a local hospital to children suffering from Leprosy. Ei Thin Zar wanted to get her master’s in education to better serve her community. She worked extremely hard and in three semesters she completed all of our core courses and improved her TOEFL score by over 70 points. We were delighted to receive this email from Ei Thin Zar last week:
“First, I would like to thank EPOP. I’ve received a scholarship and I arrived Bangkok on 6th September to begin my master’s in English Language Teaching. I got the scholarship and this opportunity because of EPOP. If you need me, I would like to volunteer for EPOP. Thank you for your help.”
Congratulations Ei Thin Zar! There are of course, many other students like Ei Thin Zar whose dreams are made reality as a result of your support for this project.
Thank you for your support!
We would sincerely like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year. A little bit goes a long way in our program and every donation helps.
If you would like more information about our program please don't hesitate to contact me and visit our website at http://epopasia.org/.
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