Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Sarah Talalay launches the English Access Microscholarship Program at SM St. Patrick Tawau in Sabah

A group photo of Access students with the guests of honor.

Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Sarah Talalay launched the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) at SM St. Patrick Tawau in Sabah on February 21, 2019. The Access program provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically-disadvantaged students, primarily ages 13 to 20. The Access program, funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, integrates cross-curricular approaches to attract students to learn English and expose them to a better understanding and knowledge of the United States, its people and culture. Each student will complete at least 360 hours of English study over the course of two years and must attend the intensive sessions during school breaks.

The opening ceremony featured an introduction to the Access program, performances by the Access students, English activities led by English Language Fellow Rose Graves and a sharing session by a representative of SMA Rompin in Pahang, which is also hosting an Access program.

SM St. Patrick Tawau is currently the sole Access program in Sabah. Also present at the opening ceremony were Madam Chu Ket Mee, a representative from Tawau District Education Office; Mr. Lee Ken Voon, Principal of SM St. Patrick Tawau; parents, students and teachers from neighboring school, SMK Kuhara; Ms. Norazyanti Aziz, an Access program provider from Pahang; and English Language Fellow Rose Graves. The event concluded with a certificate ceremony, photo opportunity and media interviews by Astro Awani.