ERLC Prize Giving & Graduation Day 2015
ERLC celebrated yet another successful year of quality education at its annual Prize Giving and Graduation Day on Saturday, November 21 at the Klang Chinese Methodist Church hall.
A full turnout of over 400 students and a large number of parents and supporters ensured the hall was packed to the brim with an audience eager to enjoy the entertainment provided, as well as celebrate the achievements of this year’s prize winners.
At her opening speech, headmistress Gan Whye Ying, explained the learning centre’s bold move to switch to using the Singapore (English language) syllabus.
In light of recent developments in the Malaysian education system, this brave move has been more than vindicated and augurs well for the fortunate students of ERLC, though there will be a short term dip in grades of students as they adjust to using English instead of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction.
Whye Ying also drew attention to the deteriorating state of ERLC’s vans that are used to transport students to and from home, and appealed for sponsors / donors to step forward to plug this vital and growing gap in the learning centre’s infrastructure.
Also, ERLC will have to, reluctantly, raise attendance fees next year as all costs (especially transport & schoolbooks) have gone up. The small increase is still very much a notional one as it nowhere near covers the true cost of ERLC, which relies heavily on donations and sponsors.
The format for the morning was designed to reduce audience-fatigue; with various dance, songs and skits sprinkled across the more serious business of prize presentations.
Special awards were also given to exceptional ERLC staff, including best teacher and auxiliary (kitchen) staff.
All teachers were called onto the stage for a final ceremony in which they were all awarded small tokens of appreciation for their hard work in the year.
A team from Klang’s Grace Community very kindly helped in this popular ERLC event by sponsoring “goodie bags” of sweets and trinkets for the students, as well as distributing clothing to needy students and their families at the end of proceedings.
Refreshments were provided by ERLC to everyone (students, parents and volunteers) who attended at the conclusion of the event
Some of us may be curious about the story of refugees helped by ERLC and MMK.
Below are the accounts of 3 parents interviewed by this writer at the Prize Day.
(Names have not been mentioned for security reasons)
1) Burmese Chin mother
Fled from Chin State and has been in Malaysia for over 2 years. She has 2 children in ERLC; one a community teacher and a 7 year old child in Year 1.
She stays in the Klang area, and there is a much smaller refugee learning centre near her home. But this only caters to 90 children and is not as well run or equipped as ERLC.
This lady works whenever work is available at MMK’s sewing centre, and her husband works in a restaurant
2) Tamil lady from Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Has 2 children in ERLC; a 10 year old and a 7 year old. A younger child of 4 is at home and she hopes will be able to join her siblings in ERLC next year.
She has been in Malaysia for almost 3 years and is awaiting an appeal on her refugee status with the UN.
She lived in Kepong when she first arrived in Malaysia, and heard of ERLC / MMK through a friend who is a community teacher at ERLC.
Tries to make some money from sewing jobs, but is a struggle (as it is for all refugees in Malaysia, where they are not allowed to legally work)
Found that the children’s standard of English has dramatically improved since attending ERLC, and is extremely grateful that her children can get some form of education at this rough time in their lives.
3) Pakistani Christian lady from the Punjab area
Fled Christian persecution in Pakistan and has been in Malaysia for just over a year. Has a boy of 13 and girl of 5 in ERLC.
Sadly her husband passed away last year. She has a sister here in Malaysia and they try to make money by doing cleaning jobs and/or working as a beautician whenever possible.
Awaiting resettlement. They would like to go to Canada but will have to wait an average of 2-3 years before they get any concrete news on resettlement options