The U.S. Embassy in Moldova calls for proposals for design and implementation of the English Access Microscholarship Program

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Background:

The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) is a global program supported by the U.S. Department of State. Access provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13-20 year-olds from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions.  Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. The program also gives participants the opportunity to gain an appreciation for U.S. culture and values. It is intended to increase their ability to participate successfully in the socio-economic development of their countries and improve their chances of participating in educational and exchange programs in the United States. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 110,000 students in more than 80 countries have participated in the Access Program.

Project description:

The goal of the Access Program is to equip talented students who possess a minimal knowledge of English with effective communication and critical thinking skills through meaning interaction, cooperative learning strategies, and real-life contexts.  Additionally, Access seeks to prepare students for conversational English language skills with native and non-native speakers of English through a variety of experiential learning activities. Selected participants must be bright, economically disadvantaged 13- to 20-year-old students with beginning level of English.  Participants should commit to enroll in classes during the full two year program. Students will graduate with certificates of completion from the U.S. Embassy in Moldova at the end of their two-year program. The Program is divided into distinct phases:

After-School Instruction

Access Program is a two-year program that requires a minimum of 360 hours of instruction reasonably distributed over the two-year period.  After-school instruction has been the preferred time for teaching and has generally taken place three days a week with each class lasting from one to one and a half hours per day.  It is the responsibility of the Providers to consider the schedule of the students to ensure that Access classes do not interfere with students’ regular school schedule.  Enhancement activities related to U.S. culture and values must occur regularly throughout the two years of the program, including during after-school Instruction.  Cultural Enhancement activities should be designed to provide hands-on and interactive opportunities for students to engage in discussions, games, community service, and other activities related to U.S. culture and values. Examples may include community events (celebrating U.S. holidays, e.g. Thanksgiving and/or Fourth of July events) and joint programming with participation of U.S. Embassy personnel,

U. S. scholars in town (e.g. English Language Fellows, English Teaching Assistants, Fulbright Students and/or Peace Corps volunteers), English language intensive sessions, leadership training, etc.  Access Programs should also include computer instruction to complement English language classes and enhancement activities. Computer classes, multimedia learning, or social media activities during after-school Instruction and/or intensive sessions should be included in the proposal.

Intensive Sessions

Intensive Sessions are often two-week-long summer programs that include more instruction hours per week than the After School program.  These sessions are included in the 360 hours of required instruction. Hours of instruction during Intensive Sessions may not exceed 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. Intensive sessions should combine English language instruction with U.S. cultural activities such as drama, computers, art, music, or games and sports, or even civic responsibility projects, leadership and teamwork training, or tolerance programs. Access Program intensive sessions are an important activity which can supplement, initiate, or conclude a student's two-year English language programming.  All intensive sessions should provide students with a window on U.S. culture and values, and their activities as much as possible should incorporate invited speakers (e.g. U.S. exchanges alumni, Embassy personnel, and other native and non-native English speaking partners, etc.). 

Community Service Activities

Access students should also be involved in community service activities to increase their awareness of issues facing their respective communities while also gaining an understanding of the ways they can positively contribute to civil society.   

In-Country Educational Service Provider: Roles and Responsibilities 

Project implementation location:

The project implementation location should include at least three and up to five oblast centers/towns throughout Moldova. Regional projects (outside Chisinau) will be given preference and should be coordinated with local educational authorities.

Design requirements:

The classes should be planned during the after-school hours not to conflict with students’ regular class hours. The participants must be bright, economically disadvantaged 13-20-year-old students. Classes should be organized both by age groups (within a couple years age difference) and language proficiency levels, with 20 students per class. The grantee should clearly define its criteria of “economically disadvantaged youth.” The general guideline is to target young students whose families will not be able to afford private English classes.

Estimated project duration:

Two (2) academic years with minimum 180 hours of instruction per year (360 hours for the two-year period). Intensive sessions should be included in the 180 hours of instruction required per year.  Start date of the projects could be October 2016.

Technical and infrastructure requirements:

The grantee must specify and coordinate the location(s) of the Access program and space that will be used for the classes and activities with the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau (preference will be given to remote areas). The grantee must either provide verification that the space belongs to the grantee or a written agreement with the holder of the space. The space must have seating for at least 20 students; it must have a blackboard/whiteboard, power outlet, heating (for the winter months), and minimal sanitary requisites. The space should also have a computer class with internet capability (or the grantee should consider providing for this separately).

Functional requirements:

The grantee is responsible for setting criteria for and identifying “economically disadvantaged youth” to be enrolled in the program. The grantee is required to produce midterm and final performance reports. The grantee should monitor students’ attendance and performance.

Assumptions and agreements:

The grantee should reach between 70-80 students in various locations throughout Moldova during this program. The budget per student should be around $1,000 and should not exceed a total of $55,000. Proposals that are cost-effective and include significant cost-share will be given priority.

Submission information:

The proposals should be submitted to the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Chisinau electronically to Education-Moldova@state.gov. Deadline for submission is August 1, 2016.

Basis for award of the grant:

The grantee should be an established institution or a non-governmental organization (NGO) with at least 3 years of experience in administering educational programs and/or teaching English, preferably to the target age group. The grantee must have access to an established core of English instructors willing to commit their time to this project. The grantee must identify the location(s) and venue(s) that will be used for this program (verified with a document/preliminary agreement) and will be responsible for recruiting students, and in consultation with the Regional English Language Office and the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, developing the curriculum. Organizations with previous experience and a capacity of working with educational institutions on a national level will be given priority.

Format of the proposal:

(A)            Narrative: A narrative document, no longer than ten pages, that describes the program in detail is required.  This document should include: 1) a description of the grantee organization including resume and previous experience, 2) the description of Access Program location(s), methodology, English language intensive sessions, cultural enhancement components, student selection criteria and process, age range of students, materials used, number of teachers, and grantee cost-sharing.

(B)            Budget:

The budget spreadsheet should include all program costs.  Categories include a breakdown of costs for the two-year program (e.g. instruction, books/materials, transportation, administration, and cultural enhancement components), the total number of students to be enrolled, the start and end dates for instruction, the number of hours of instruction students will receive per week and year, and the type of program (e.g. after-school, weekend, full-time, or English language intensive sessions).  Intensive sessions must be listed as a separate row of the Budget Spreadsheet, with a complete cost breakdown.  A breakdown of any cost-sharing by the grantee should be submitted in a separate spreadsheet. 

Additional information:

This request is accompanied by a proposal and budget templates.  For additional information or clarification please contact the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section at 022-408995 and Education-Moldova@state.gov.

 





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