Teaching English to the elderly
"Repeat after me, 'good morning',"a prominent English tutor teaches his students as usual. However, one thing is unusual. The more than 30 students in front of him are in their 50s, if not 60s, instead of the teenagers that his pupils usually are.
His students in this special classroom are unlike any other students who normally take a class to cultivate knowledge and improve their skills. They are learning how to help their children with their home work.
"Many of our customers lamented that they don't know how to guide their students to complete their homework as the knowledge and skills they had been trained for are quite different from those their children are acquiring. This is why we operate the Community Learning Centre,"said Charkrit Direkwattanachai, Tesco Lotus head of public affairs.
The Community Learning Centre is the latest social responsibility initiative of Tesco Lotus. It offers a wide array of free life-skill courses not only to parents, but also students and any interested individuals who would like to improve their knowledge or learn new skills, said Charkrit.
Besides the English course, parents can also learn more about mathematics and sociology to brush up primary school subjects to help with their kids' homework. Moreover, some occupational classes such as flower arranging, knitting and crochet and drawing are also offered free to those who are interested.
"Anyone can simply walk in and sign up for the classes according to their needs and there is no charge," said Charkrit.
The project is warmly welcomed by Suwat Tantipat, vice minister at the Ministry of Education, who said "this will fulfil a need as the official education system cannot provide these kinds of classes".
Parents, who are also customers of the superstore, are appreciative of the initiative. "It is a very good project as it allows me to learn what I yearned to learn when I was a kid but did not have a chance," said a woman, who identified herself as Bang-orn, after signing up for the drawing class.
The first and only Tesco Lotus Community Learning Centre is located on the third floor of Tesco Lotus Pinklao and is run by a full-time manager. It is open from 10am to 8pm every day of the week. According to Charkrit, more centres will be opened at other branches if the project benefits the community and receives a warm welcome.
"We hope this centre will be a starting point for everybody in this community to gain knowledge that will increase their opportunities. As we believe knowledge is the greatest gift, we'd like this Community Learning Centre to be a New Year's gift to everyone in the community," said John Christie, chief executive officer of Tesco Lotus.