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What can we equip our children with and how we can cultivate them as a 21st century ready talent?

Recently, I attended a dialogue session titled "Education in the 21st Century – ‘Our Impact. It was an interactive session through which we got to share our opinion and have an in depth understanding of the current education landscape in Malaysia. This dialogue session was organised by LeapEd Services Sdn Bhd (‘LeapEd’), a homegrown education services provider and a wholly-owned company of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

As a mother of two, I had attended the session to see how the education system varies from year to year and focuses on one’s academic achievements but it does not promise a journey of lifelong learning for the children.

The session began with an activity of "Two Stars & A Wish", where we were asked to reflect on our own schooling experience. The first question was “Do you still remember the 2 things that resonated with you until now; the one teacher that you looked up to or that one incident which made you stronger?”

For me, it was the encouraging words of my teacher that truly shaped me into the person I am today. A teacher that I looked up to was my integrated life skills teacher. I still remember those days when we had to saw the wood, work on electrical circuits and many more DIY projects. I never thought that as a girl I was capable of doing all this, but I still managed to, eventually, with much encouragement from my teacher. Today, many hands-on projects are somehow omitted from the school system and I believe that DIY projects should be cultivated among the younger generation!

The one wish I have for the Malaysian education system is for it to benefit my children and the future generations to come. Children must be equipped with life skills such as confidence, communication, co-existence, critical thinking and creativity to succeed in the future. Thus, teachers play a vital role in shaping our children, equipping them with the critical life skills that will pave the way for their success. To add, we also need school teachers to guide and encourage our children to have empathy and co-exist with each other in a respectful and harmonious manner. We do not need a chunk of exam papers and piles of books - as robots could help with that in the future, but what we truly need is for the 21st century generation to be compassionate, kind, and respectful. So how can we achieve these values? 

This is the holistic transformation that LeapEd is focusing on through their flagship Trust Schools Programme (TSP 1.0). The TSP 1.0 influences change in schools through training and capacity building of the school leadership team, teachers, students and parents. Established in 2011, the programme is customisable to ensure its sustainability in Malaysian schools. Today, TSP 1.0 has impacted over 5,300 parents and 65,000 students in 83 schools across 12 states in Malaysia!

At the dialogue session, representatives from LeapEd walked us through the impact from TSP 1.0, based off an Impact Study they recently conducted to assess the effectiveness of the programme.

Check out the video here for more insight:

Let me share with you the insights from the impact study that was shown during the session:

TSP 1.0 urges parents to instil faith in the public school education system, assuring that their children are being equipped with skills that prepare them for the 21st century. The programme provides a platform for parents to be involved in their children’s growth and development at school, as the impact study findings indicate an increase in the frequency and level of interaction between students, teachers and parents.

Over 3,000 school staff, students and parents who responded to the Impact Study had reacted positively to the TSP 1.0, with key findings as below:

· 91% of Primary & 88% of Secondary Students perceive the quality of teaching to be high
· 66% of Senior Leadership in schools indicated they have progressed a minimum of 1 level
· 49% of Middle Leadership indicated they have progressed a minimum of 1 level
· 61% of Teachers indicated they have progressed a minimum progress of 1 level

· Building Holistic Students: The Trust Schools Programme intervention model is designed to transform education that goes beyond academia and focuses on developing holistic individuals. Google has quoted that GPA is not a credible criteria when it comes to hiring in the current workforce. Hence, TSP 1.0 aims to create individuals that are equipped with knowledge and skills for thriving in the 21st century.

· Positive Environment: The intervention model had a positive impact on professional competencies of senior leadership team (SLTs), middle leaders (MLs) and teachers. A few key insights from the Impact Study showed that 61% of teachers indicated a progression of minimum 1 level and 25% of teachers indicated a progression of 2-3 levels. The progression level is evaluated following 5 levels of starting, developing, establishing, enhancing & extending.

· Student’s Wellbeing: The Impact Study also shows that parents have witnessed a palpable difference in their children post-programme as they observed increased opportunities for their children to be involved in the life of the schools. This resulted in positive outcomes of student well-being and overall growth. Hence, witnessing the success and learnings of this programme, LeapEd is committed to continue developing a new and enhanced model, TSP 2.0 that will be aligned with global trends and national aspirations.
(Dr Suseela Balakrishnan, Head of Design, Monitoring & Evaluation, Nina Adlan Disney, General Manager Education Development, Zulhaimi Othman, Managing Director of LeapEd and Brian John Ambrosio, Head of State Education Advisory Services)
TSP 2.0 focuses on a public - private partnership (PPP) and will see collaborations with school leadership teams, teachers, students, parents and the community. This has already been launched this year in selected Malaysian public schools.

I support this programme, because as a parent I feel that learning needs to be more interesting, collaborative and holistic so that students in the Malaysian public schools can enjoy a high-quality, 21st century education.

Every good programme requires support from the society. Hence, private and social-sector entities, including corporations and businesses are encouraged to play a bigger role in making sustainable learning a success in order to improve the education system in the country. This could be done in the form of sponsorship from the private sector (corporations, alumni groups, NGOs) for the TSP, while LeapEd continues to play the role of design and implementation partner. The cost of implementing of TSP varies based on the number of students and teachers in a school, as well as the schools’ particular context and challenges.

The Trust Schools Programme (TSP 1.0) is LeapEd Services’ flagship programme designed to develop holistic students with 21st century capabilities. Through strategic partnership with Yayasan AMIR – a not-for-profit organisation which works closely with the Ministry of Education, TSP 1.0 is aimed at whole school transformation, empowering school communities including school leaders, teachers, students and parents.

TSP 1.0 is designed as a 5-year model, however the programme can also be completed at a minimum of 3 years. To adopt a school into the programme, a funding capped at RM600 per student per year is required and is sponsored by corporate entities. Since its roll out in 2011, TSP 1.0 has impacted over 5,300 parents and 65,000 students in 83 schools across 12 states in Malaysia.”

To participate as a sponsor or if you’d like to find out more, please drop an email to enquiry@leapedservices.com

Here is Leap Ed website for you to learn more about the programme: www.leapedservices.com

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