PESHAWAR, June 3: Certificates were distributed to around 100 students of Peshawar’s seminaries on Monday after they completed an English language programme under the US-sponsored English Access Microscholarship Programme.

US Consul General Robert Reed distributed the certificates appreciating the active participation of seminary students in the programme.

He said he was hopeful that seminarians would no more be shy about speaking English and look at it as the beginning of something better in their lives.

Mr Reed said around 5,000 Pakistanis had learnt how to speak English under the US-sponsored programme, the largest of its kind in the country.

“The programme helps students overcome challenges of learning this foreign language and equips them with English language skills so they can rise as far as their talent and hard work will take them.

We are proud to partner with the Peace Education and Development Foundation to invest in Pakistani youths,” he said.

Under the programme, seminary students participated in 400 hours of intensive after-school English language instruction and summer learning activities over two years.

PEAD collaborated with the US Consulate to select students of local seminaries and hire local teachers to lead the classes.

Coordinator of the programme Qazi Saheef said the value of the Access programme was that it was much more than English language.

“It is a multi-dimensional program that built self-confidence in our students, helped them to develop tolerance towards others, and to become responsible, empathetic and educated citizens,” he said.

Mr Saheef said Pakistan boasted the largest Access programme in the world with over 5,000 students studying English across the country.

“About 95,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the programme, which is one of many US-funded education initiatives helping students unlock their full potential,” he said.

He said the US was going to launch new degree programmes in education at 90 teacher colleges and universities, building or rehabilitating nearly 800 schools, providing scholarships for 12,000 students to study in Pakistan, and operating the largest Fulbright academic exchange programme in the world.

On the occasion, seminary students shared their experiences and thanked their teachers and the US Consulate for giving them an opportunity to learn English language.

Hazrat Ali, a student of Madrasa Idaara Taaleemul Quran, Pakha Ghulam, spoke enthusiastically about the importance of learning English language and said: “If you want to google something, you should know English and if you want to impress your girlfriend, you have to learn to speak English.”

The participants enjoyed the light-hearted but straightforward style of the seminarian and clapped.

Samiullah, a student of Idaara Taleemul Quran, Namakmandi, said he had been part of the English language programme since April 2011 and that helped him speak correct English.

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