Friday April 3, 2009
FORTY lucky teenage boys from Penang's SMKA (L)Al-Mashoor recently participated in a four-day professiona-lism advancement programme for cluster schools that took them overseas to Medan and Acheh in Indonesia.
School head boy Wan Huzaifah Wan Hasbullah, 18, said he was excited about the journey as it was his first trip abroad.
"It is a rare chance for students to go on an overseas field trip. It is a new experience to be cherished.".
"I am going to give my best to the programme so I will not waste this fantastic chance to see new places and meet new people," he said as they were waiting to fly off from the Penang International Airport.
His fellow student Ahmad Faris Ahmad Faziel, 16, was just as excited about his maiden trip overseas.
"My parents gave me a lot of advice to make sure I take care of myself while I am in Indonesia.
"I am just excited about going on this trip with my friends," said the Form Four student.
Accompanying the students were 31 state Education Department officials, teachers and other staff members.
The school's senior assistant Abd Nasir Salleh said even the teachers had suffered sleepless nights due to the excitement.
"In my 28 years as a teacher, the chance to bring students for an overseas trip is like a dream come true.
"I am rather sentimental about this because of the tremendous support the parents and the state Education Department had given us from the very beginning," he said.
The trip to Medan and Acheh was made successful by the co-operation between the state Education Department and community airline Firefly, which gave the students a special rate for their airfare, and 71 limited edition Firefly caps and lanyards to everyone on the trip.
Department director Ibrahim Mohamad said the airfare for the students was sponsored by the Education Ministry and the school's parent-teacher association while the department's officials, teachers and other staff memebrs went on their own expenses.
He said apart from paying a courtesy call on the Governor of Acheh, the delegation visited several academic institutions in Acheh and Medan, and presented 20 computer laptops to orphanages in Acheh.
He said the laptops would aid the organisations in administration work and encourage the learning of ICT among the children under their care.
"We spent about RM45,000 for the laptops.
"The money was collected from students and their parents from all over the state," said Ibrahim.
He also said he hoped the delegation's visit would further foster a closer relationship between Penang, Acheh and Medan, while educating the students about the once tsunami-stricken Acheh.