Sunway-Oxbridge Essay Competition to improve English proficiency

In line with Sunway Group’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative to raise standards of education in Malaysian schools, especially in the proficiency of English; Sunway is calling all secondary school students to submit essays on smoking issues starting from 6 July 2014. This is the inaugural Sunway-Oxbridge Essay Competition jointly organised by Sunway Group, The Oxford & Cambridge Society Malaysia, Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, Sunway University and Monash University Malaysia. This competition is also endorsed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia.

The Sunway-Oxbridge Essay Competition is open to all secondary school students using the Malaysian education syllabus. There are two categories to the competition – Category A for students in Form 1 to Form 3 (aged 13 – 15) and Category B for students in Form 4 to Form 5 (aged 16-17 years old). Under Category A, participants are required to write a 350-word or less on the importance of staying away from cigarettes; while participants in Category B are required to write 650 words or less, on why they believe a smoke-free environment is good for everyone.

Senior Executive Director of Sunway Education Group and Sunway University, Elizabeth Lee said it would be interesting to tap into the minds of young Malaysians on their views towards smoking and how they could influence their peers in their argument about cigarette smoking and its impact.

“Sunway advocates a smoke-free environment in its Sunway-owned buildings in Bandar Sunway and the township aims to be smoke-free by 2018. This year, Sunway Group will start to progressively roll out a comprehensive smoking cessation plan and smoke-free policy to educate its employees of the benefits of a smoke-free environment,” said Lee on the theme of the essay competition.

She added that with this year’s theme, participants will be exposed to current issues and more aware of health concerns which are often overlooked by teenagers.

It is alarming that the number of smokers and deaths related to smoking have been increasing over the years in Malaysia. Unfortunately, the public especially teenagers have been ignorant about the effects of smoking on health. Therefore, as Education is one of Sunway’s CSR key pillars to assure a brighter and healthier future for the communities, this competition is also in line with the beliefs of the Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, AO, that a good education enhances creative thinking which ultimately improves society and the nation.

Deputy Education Minister, YB Kamalanathan A/L Panchanathan commended Sunway’s effort to encourage English proficiency amongst school students through the essay writing competition as English is the language of knowledge.

“School students must learn and command the English language well so that they are prepared to face the world with English as the lingua franca and the dominant language for businesses. The National Education Blueprint has made provisions for the proficiency of English language to be upheld so that we remain competitive in the international arena,” said YB Kamalanathan.

This competition is in partnership with Oh My English!, a popular television series on Astro TV IQ. Prizes totalling RM28,000 in cash and RM190,000 in Sunway bursaries are up for grabs. Participants are required to submit their essays online through www.sunway.edu.my/essay. The top 100 finalists will be required to participate in a sit-down essay writing competition which will be held on 6 September 2014 nationwide at locations, which may include Penang, Selangor, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

The first prize winner of both categories stand a chance to win a cash prize of RM5,000 and a Sunway bursary worth RM20,000 each. The second prize winner of both categories will each take home RM3,000 cash and a Sunway bursary valued at RM15,000. The third prize winner of both categories will each take home RM1,000 cash and an RM10,000 Sunway bursary. Each category will have ten consolation prizes, comprise of a cash prize of RM500 and Sunway bursary of RM5,000. All winners will also receive certificates and the winners of the top three prizes will also receive a trophy. To encourage student participation in the competition, Sunway will recognise the school with the most submissions, with a special prize.

As an additional incentive, Sunway Pals will award 10,000 Sunway Pals points for either one of the parent, or the legal guardian, of the winners. Launched in February 2014, Sunway Pals is a loyalty programme that offers rebates and savings from various Sunway businesses, including Sunway Hotels and Sunway Medical Centre.