Teach For Malaysia
Teach For Malaysia (TFM) is a proud member of the Teach for All global education network, which brings together education organizations from over 60 nations. Since 2012, the initiatives they have conducted were for the better good of today – and they do bear fruit. As of July 2022, TFM amazingly has influenced 330,285 students over the past decade through collaborations with 893 schools and 131 student-led initiatives with 34,676 beneficiaries.
Identifying themselves as changemakers of today’s society, Teach For Malaysia strives to lead a life of impact by mobilizing a movement of leaders committed to ending educational inequity. Established in 2010, Teach for Malaysia is a non-governmental organization that recruits excellent Malaysians into the Fellowship, a two-year leadership program to make an immediate difference in high-need public schools around the country.
“We believe that everyone in society contributes to education. So, if we all harness our collective leadership, we can truly see the kind of education system that we want to have for all of our students.”
- CEO of Teach For Malaysia, Chan Soon Seng -
The very reason behind their inception is thanks to the vision held by their by their 2 co-founders Keeran Sivarajah and Dzameer Dzulkifli. Today, CEO, Chan Soon Seng continues to lead the organisation in its mission of building a movement of leaders in the education ecosystem to empower all children in Malaysia to realise their potential. He was deeply impacted by the difficulties experienced by students growing up in low-income communities. Rather than a lack of ability, it was the lack of resources as well as opportunities that kept these students from reaching their potential.
Teach For Malaysia partners with the Ministry of Education, schools and communities to improve immediate student, community, and system outcomes, and these public-private partnerships allowed the organisation to scale their impact. Through its flagship Fellowship Programme, individuals with the most promising competencies and skill sets are recruited to be placed in some of the most demanding schools that serve low-income areas (<RM3,000 monthly household income).
TFM Alumni from various cohorts
To date, they have recruited 474 Fellows and Alumni for the Teach For Malaysia Fellowship, with 31 per cent of Fellows graduating from one of the top 100 universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings (Harvard University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and so on), while 33 per cent came from the private sector (IBM, Shell, KPMG, Maybank, etc.).
Their two-year experiential leadership programme, much like a demanding management trainee programme or a selective MBA programme, aims to prepare a small group of devoted citizens to be long-term catalysts of education reform.
Teach For Malaysia’s Student Vision: A Malaysia where all children are empowered to be leaders of their own learning, their future and the future of Malaysia
In 2019, Teach For Malaysia expanded its work to also coach 572 in-service public school teachers through Program Duta Guru (PDG), a collaboration between Yayasan PETRONAS and the Ministry of Education, through Pusat STEM Negara. PDG is a nationwide two-year industry-linked programme with the objective to empower STEM teachers serving in high-need schools. So far, 88 per cent of principals recognise that Program Duta Guru teachers have brought a positive impact among other teachers.
The organisation realises that it is only through collective efforts that education inequity will end. Hence, Teach For Malaysia collaborates with public and private sector partners like YTL Foundation, Yayasan Petronas, CIMB Foundation, Yayasan Hartalega etc. to create impactful programmes that can further transform the education system. For instance, the Student Leadership Camp(SLC) in collaboration with Accenture. SLC is an annual social innovation program co-hosted by Accenture in which students will collaborate in groups with Accenture personnel to design and pitch solutions to address local community issues. Then, selected student teams receive funds to carry out the initiatives they proposed in their respective schools. This is only one of their many initiatives that are focused on student development.
Apart from the 38 per cent academic growth for students taught by Fellows (in comparison to the average growth rate in schools), Teach For Malaysia is now seeing students receive university scholarships, win competitions to visit the Silicon Valley, and even inspire and star in an award winning local film, Adiwiraku (based on the true story of 2013 Fellow, Cheryl Ann Fernando and her students).
Adiwiraku is an independent local film inspired by Teach For Malaysia Alumni, Cheryl Ann Fernando. It tells the joys and struggles of our Fellows who led their students to participate in a district level choral speaking competition. This heartwarming movie stars Sangeeta Krishasamy, Xavier Fong, Wan Azlyn and actual students from SMK Pinang Tunggal, Kedah.
“Ensuring resilience in the education system to constantly support the students is more important than ever”, said CEO Chan Soon Seng. In addition to their core programmes, they have been focused on the 2023 Education Recovery Strategy in response to the pandemic, to address the immediate needs and deliver strategic interventions that can support students from high-need schools.The COVID-19 outbreak was a perfect example of why the system needs to be rock solid to ensure education does not get limited or abandoned.
At the start of the pandemic, only 30 per cent of students taught by Fellows were able to participate in online learning. However, TFM was able to double this number by using a broad range of distance learning methodologies. New programmes such as the TFM Tutoring Programme, which provides Volunteer Tutors to high-need schools and Learning Boxes, which are learning tools for limited or no bandwidth environments, were also introduced.
In collaboration with their corporate partners, The Learning Box—a self-directed learning resource box was created, containing engaging activities and materials that helped students to continue learning in limited or zero bandwidth environments.
This resulted in the development of curriculum-aligned online courses for Learn From Home, made available on YTL Foundation’s website and the FrogPlay mobile app, the Distance Learning Website which provides resources for school leaders, teachers, parents, and students, as well as many other initiatives.
There are many factors that influence the outcomes of a child’s education, beyond the influence of a teacher and school. After the Fellowship, Teach For Malaysia Alumni progress to positions of leadership across various levels of the education ecosystem in order to affect long-term, systemic change. 72 percent of Alumni are actively involved in the broader education sector and 12 social impact organisations were founded and led by Alumni. Pemimpin GSL focuses on developing school leaders; Edvolution Enterprise builds system leadership capacity; Closing The Gap, Project ID, and Impian Kencana empower B40 students to pursue their academic and career aspirations. TFM’s work continues with the hope that one day, all Malaysian children will be able to realise their potential through quality education.