About 200 low-skilled workers have started their eight-week training under Reach Out To Asia’s (ROTA) 2013-2014 Adult English Literacy (RAEL) initiative at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
ROTA’s Adult English Literacy drive this year is being held in collaboration with HBKU and in partnership with Qatar Petroleum (QP).
By teaching labourers who work within their own campus, the student volunteer tutors also affirm each university’s commitment to social responsibility and lifelong learning. This year, 58 volunteers representing Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Texas A & M University, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University, and Reach Out To Asia are entrusted with the task of helping low-skilled workers improve their English language skills.
“The ROTA Adult English Literacy Programme is a way of supporting workers to enhance their ability to achieve personal goals and improve life opportunities. We hope that by participating in the programme, participants will develop higher aspirations and an increased sense of wellbeing and empowerment,” says ROTA Executive Director, Essa Al Mannai.
ROTA’s Adult English Literacy classes are taught during a 16-week period split into two terms. The first term is from September 22 to December 22, while the second term starts in February and finishes in April 2014.
First developed in 2009, the RAEL Programme was created primarily to develop the English literacy and language abilities of low-skilled migrant workers in Qatar. A key feature of the programme offers opportunities for young people in Qatar to take part in an experiential service learning opportunity, developing their skills and knowledge as RAEL Literacy Trainers and Champions.
During the 2012-13 season, 73 university students taught basic and intermediate level English classes to 130 workers employed across the four universities, with cleaners, pantry staff and other support staff among the Education City workers learning improved English language skills.
Maniwannan Iyathuruia, a migrant worker attending the classes, said that he didn’t know the English alphabet before he joined the programme. “I could not read, write or speak English before, but after attending English classes regularly, my English is improving a lot and I feel better about my progress personally and professionally,” he said.
For Damar Chaudhary, being selected for the educational programme is a privilege. “I have always yearned for an opportunity to enhance my English language as I believe that it will give me more responsibility in my job, become more competent, and improve my skills that could eventually lead to improving my work life and finances.”
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