Saturday February 28, 2009
By CHRISTINA CHIN
THOUSANDS of visitors are expected to throng the Star Education Fair 2009 at the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) today and tomorrow.
Since 9am yesterday, the 119 exhibitors were busy setting up their booths and preparing for the much anticipated event.
Among the early birds were Study International Education Consult - a centre representing over 40 tertiary institutions in five countries around the world.
Its marketing manager Casey Lim said a large crowd is expected this weekend.
"The SPM results will be out soon and we are quite optimistic the turnout will be good especially with the heavy publicity given by radio and newspaper," he said, adding that the centre would be focusing on entry level programmes at its booth.
"We have college representatives from the Melbourne-based Sheila Baxter Training Centre - a well-respected and leading hair and beauty training institution established since 1971, Britain's St Andrew's and California's Foothill-De Anza all offering sound entry level courses.
"We will also be giving out loads of premium items at our booth," he said.
By midday, PISA was a hive of activity.
The concourse and arena took on a colourful carnival feel complete with posters and decorations.
A mix of foreign and local learning institutions turned the place into an "international education hub".
The Singapore Education pavilion, comprising 16 booths, looked impressive in a cluster of emerald green and yellow blocks as SEGi College Penang's massive banner wall was being erected.
At the Wawasan Open University (WOU) booths, a huge green balloon hovered and at DeSpark Auto Academy, a sexy electric blue Subaru Impreza was brought in so that fair visitors could learn how a car's engine, lighting and turbo systems function.
At the Celcom booth, people were putting up "University of X (UOX)" banners and buntings.
Celcom (M) Bhd northern region marketing head Akryl Azam Arudin said this was the first time the telecommunication giant was participating in an education fair.
Since this is Celcom's first time, we wanted to do it at the biggest education event, which is the Star Education Fair.
"The reason we are here is because communication is an integral part of education and with that in mind, we are here to offer our special UOX student packages which we will be giving away to those between the ages of 14 and 25," he said, adding that launched last year, UOX was only available at Celcom branches.
The Star's assistant section manager (advertisement and sales support) Lim Cheng Im said more visitors were expected this year compared to the previous events as parents would be looking for the best value added packages for their children in light of the tough economic times.
"Also we have more exhibitors compared to the last time around and we are giving away more than 4,500 prizes worth some RM80,000 in our Spin & Win Contest.
"Visitors to the fair will have nothing to lose but everything to gain!" she said, adding that for the first time in the fair's history, there would be a travel agency offering special packages for students.
Among the prizes for the Spin & Win Contest are 50 Firefly flight tickets, 3-day-2-night stays at Parkroyal Penang and Philips electrical appliances including a hi-fi set and DVD and MP3 players.
There will be a total of 229 booths and 35 talks by academics and professionals at the two-day fair.
Celcom and FireFly are the main sponsors for the event.
The fair, to be opened by Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Datin Linda Ngiam, is from 11am to 7pm.
Admission is free.