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Achieving excellence through the ESU

The ESU,  that is the English Speaking Union, Mauritius Branch, based at Port Louis is doing its utmost towards promoting the English Language in our country. Apart from the various ongoing activities it caters for, namely The Bee Spelling Competition, The Commonwealth Essay competition, the Online Certificate courses for English teachers in collaboration with American universities, The Annual  Summer  course at The Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the heart of London or at Stratford Upon Avon, where Mauritius is represented by an English teacher, the Public Speaking competition is and remains one of its topmost achievements as far as the betterment of the English Language in Mauritius is concerned.
The finals of the Public Speaking competition in English were held at the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday last. It was as the English say “A  feast  for the eyes and a feast for the ears”. Anyone present on the day would have surely been agreeably surprised  by  the highly commendable level of English spoken over there. Gone are the days when Mauritian students stumbled when speaking English. Gone are the days when Mauritian teachers felt hopeless and helpless when thinking of their struggles to empower their students with speaking skills in English. The teaching and learning of the English Language has taken an astounding turn and the soaring level of the language heard at the MBC is a proof in itself that the ESU  has gone through an outstanding  performance.
The Public Speaking Competition is an annual feature of the ESU since years. If in the early years only a few participants could be heard, it is now an event not to be missed in secondary schools. Hence jury members at the Heats have a very tough time to select the best from each lot. Those who make it to the finals know how tough it is to be selected, not only through the delivery of their speech but after going through the round of pertinent questions they have to answer fluently and with great logic and show of maturity. The winner then amply deserves the most coveted prize which is a return ticket to London, participation in the International Competition held at the Headquarters of the ESU, in great pomp and elegance, in the traditional British style, with all the other benefits and privileges derived from. I bet students have already started getting ready for the next competition after reading this article.
A lady who was sitting near me in the finals confided “This is a dream come true” She told me that she was with the ESU in its debut days and she had always dreamed about such progress as far as speaking good English was concerned. The lady was clearly enjoying every bit of the event, totally satisfied that the present team at the ESU has been able to make her dream come true. There can be many more people having the same opinion that the ESU is doing a great job towards promoting the language. Years back the situation was pathetic even if our official language was and remains to be English. I remember my university days when other foreign students asked us Mauritians about our official language. We had to say it was English even if we knew the level was quite unpromising. Today, one would be proud to hear and speak good English. We can but say thanks to institutions like the ESU, which leaves no stone unturned to reach its objective, which is to create global understanding through English. The ESU is always present when a book in English is launched, it has many writers in English as members and the ESU is also present at book fairs and so on, promoting books in English. It is the sense of commitment which makes the difference.
The recent innovative idea coming from ESU members is a regular Scrabble competition to be held at its seat and which will surely attract many lovers of the English Language. Learning by playing can be said to be the best form of teaching
To conclude, Hats off to the ESU, specially for the Public Speaking competition finals at the MBC, on Thursday 27 march. It is an open invitation also to many other schools to come forward and contribute towards making your students read, write and speak good English. Let’s go faster as there is no speed limit on the way to excellence.

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