Technical institute at stake amid dwindling donations


  • Metro News
  • Friday, 03 Jul 2020

THE effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are far reaching, especially among society’s most vulnerable like the B40 youths.

Montfort Boys Town (MBT), Malaysia’s technical institute working to empower these youths for the past 61 years, is seeing worrying times as donors have stopped their contributions in the current subdued economic environment.

“We understand many companies are facing difficulties sustaining their businesses, as a result of the current economy.

“At the same time, sustaining MBT and its work relies on the support of the public and corporate partners through funding.

“Our donations have reached its lowest level since the start of the movement control order (MCO) and we are concerned about the future of our students who rely on us for a chance to build a livelihood and a better future, ” said Montfort Boys Town deputy director S. Arul.

Since the start of the MCO, MBT stepped up efforts to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning through online platforms such as video calls, emails, group chats and online conferencing.

The shift also comes with its set of challenges as not all MBT students are equipped with the facilities for online learning.

Arul said MBT’s efforts were hindered as many of its students did not own a smartphone and had to rely on devices shared with family members or had limited Internet access.

“Teaching academically challenged students is an art. Our teachers have been working tirelessly to support their online lessons by simplifying notes, preparing assignments, and simple quizzes.

“However, these are still inadequate for an effective and productive learning process, given the limited access our students have to proper facilities, ” Arul added.

MBT’s modules are crafted to help its students who require different learning approaches to thrive with the “teach and show” method.

The “teach and show” method places greater emphasis on the practical approach to enhance a student’s theoretical understanding.

But during the remote learning period, it was not possible for all subjects, especially those with heavy machinery involved such as the automotive courses.

“Employment is another area that we foresee becoming a challenge for our students as employers may be more conservative about hiring amid operational cost tightening measures.

“We hope with the reactivation of business for more sectors and the resumption of inter-state travels during this recovery phase it will help improve the outlook for employment among our graduates.

“We hope to continue sowing the seeds of education among our young people with the help of our generous donors, ” said Arul.

MBT’s fundraising efforts through its annual open house charity carnival was impacted by the pandemic.

It requires about RM8mil a year to sustain its overall operational expenses.

These include housing for approximately 350 students including meals, teaching and administration staff salaries, maintenance for its faculties and facilities, as well as upgrades for machinery, central to the educational development of its students.

Since its inception, MBT has educated 7,000 underprivileged youths in Malaysia, who have gone on to build careers as a result of their foundational years at the institute.

MBT is one of Malaysia’s pioneering non-governmental organisations that provide skills training and character formation to marginalised youths in Malaysia.

In 2002, it opened its doors to female students with the setting up of Montfort Girls Centre.

Cash donations to MBT are entitled for tax exemption.

For details, call 03-5519 1735/6, email boystown@montfort.org.my or visit www.montfort.org.my

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