In 2006 a call was made by Fr Poya, Parish Priest of Mary Mother of Perpetual Help, Batam, for help to give oral English lessons to the students of St Ignatius Loyola in Rempang. St Ignatius Loyola is a primary school with an enrolment of 160 students from Primary 1 to Primary 6.
There is a great shortage of English speakers in Indonesia and the school has only one English teacher who does not even speak English. He is able to teach only the written form of English. Ability to speak English would greatly improve the earning capacity of a school-leaver in Indonesia.
In March 2007 Epiphany launched the TeachNLearn outreach in Rempang. It consists of an integrated programme of English lessons drawn up and coordinated by Singapore teachers. A team of volunteers is sent to the school once a fortnight. Volunteers need not be professional teachers, as lesson plans and teaching materials are provided. At the end of each semester, a test is conducted to assess the progress of the students. Volunteers are asked to commit to going on a minimum of 3 trips – to put in their few “bricks” in the structure of the learning programme. The target of the programme is to get the children of St Ignatius School to read and write up to the level of Pr 2 and carry on a simple conversation in English.
Although the TeachNLearn outreach is based at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, volunteers belong to parishes from all over Singapore.