Overcoming The Education Crisis Together

Imagine being an eight-year-old child receiving the news of school closures one evening. You find your mother confused, sweeping the bookshelf to see if there are enough workbooks and stationery to assist your learning for the next few weeks. The next morning, you wake up to find that the school life you’ve once known is gone. No more running past and greeting your friends in the school compound; no more blackboard and chalk for you to write on when the teacher calls you up. No more turning to your friends when you meet a question you can’t solve, and certainly, no more ‘Cikgus’ to physically be by your side guiding you through your homework. The familiarity you’ve had of school is lost, and this ‘new normal’ of not going to school might seem like a treat, but it also leaves a question mark as to what should happen next. A mix of feelings begin to cloud your mind, “Does this mean I have a holiday? Wait a minute, what about exams? Will I have online classes? Do I still have to submit my homework?” Confusion, reluctance, puzzlement; but there is no time to mull over the implications of these changes because no one seems to have any answers. The story above brings a small glimpse of the impact that school closures have had on children—their learning is halted while teachers, educators, schools and other education institutions try to adapt and provide children with the necessary tools to continue learning.

It was in September 2020 that the All Party Parliament Group Malaysia (APPGM) awarded a grant of RM40,000 to three civil-society groups, namely Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG), Stop for the One and Yayasan Amal Asas to address issues that have emerged out of this “education crisis” within PPR Lembah Subang 1, Petaling Jaya (referred to as PPR Taman Putra Damai throughout the rest of this post).

Led by GG, the funds utilised aimed to promote continued learning, unity & harmony, and take a multi-stakeholder approach that supports education access for the children in PPR Taman Putra Damai. The grant’s objectives was also in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) goal #4 Quality Education, and #17 Partnerships for the Goals. Variations of distanced learning solutions With the school closures, we saw ourselves thinking outside the box by providing various forms of distance-learning s