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Jakarta Holds Southeast Asian English Olympics

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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

The Southeast Asian English Olympics begin Monday in Jakarta. High school and university students will compete to demonstrate their English skills at the Anggrek campus of Binus University.

The Bina Nusantara English Club at the university started the English Olympics in two thousand five. The yearly competition was formerly known as the Nationwide English Olympics.

This year the club invited other Southeast Asian schools to send "ambassadors" to join students from Indonesia. The organizers hope to have four hundred or more students take part.

There are six areas of competition. One is based on Scrabble, the board game where players try to form words from letters with different point values. Other areas include speech, storytelling and newscasting. Students will be judged on their ability to present the news.

Yohanes Napis is the twenty-year-old chief executive officer of next week's Olympics. He says the biggest event is the debate competition, which will include international judges. He says the competition will use the British parliamentary system but debaters can use either British or American English.

Organizers of the Southeast Asian English Olympics are getting support from the American Embassy in Jakarta and VOA. The finals will take place Saturday, February nineteenth, in a new high-tech American cultural center called @america. It opened in December in the Pacific Place Mall in Jakarta.

There are also plans for one hundred Indonesian high school students to come to the @america center next Friday. They will choose their favorite entry in the sixth area of competition, short movie making. But adult judges will choose the winners of the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Yohanes Napis says the Southeast Asian English Olympics might expand next year into the Asian English Olympics.

YOHANES NAPIS: "Two months ago we already have participants from Bangladesh, but unfortunately we cannot accept them because this is actually the Southeast Asian English Olympics. We already have participants as well from China, who already asked if they are eligible to join this Olympics. But unfortunately we have to refuse them, and also from Bangladesh as well. So I think we have a good chance to actually expand the scale into Asian for next year."

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by June Simms. If you're going to the English Olympics in Jakarta next week, we would love to have you send reports. You can post comments at or on Facebook at VOA Learning English, where you can also upload pictures and videos. I'm Steve Ember.