Realising the need for SPM students to continue learning and staying connected, a disabled educator is now offering his free educational seminars by going online during the current pandemic.
B. Krishna Kumar, 52, known as “Cikgu Mafia”, said he decided to offer the online seminars to students who could not afford tuition classes under the current MCO 3.0.
The head of training at Accelskill Academy here, he said the SPM seminar which he initiated in mid-2000 was being continued for students, mainly from the lower income group.
“We have gone online to help these students while some of the digital devices for the needy were provided by Accelskill and the Melaka Chief Minister’s office, ” Krishna said in an interview.
He took on the “Cikgu Mafia” moniker when one of his students helped him to register his email address in the late 1990s, before others started calling him by that nickname.
Krishna said more than 200 students in Negri Sembilan and Melaka were being offered exam tips and coached in answering techniques through the online video conference.
“The free seminars are held weekly and meant for those who cannot afford to attend tuition classes, ” he said.
He is also encouraging his students to read the newspapers daily to improve their proficiency in English and Bahasa Malaysia.
He said students should not only rely on their smartphones but should also read various publications and other reading materials if they were eager to compete with challenges in the competitive global market.
“So, I decided that it is a must for my students to have newspapers with them when interacting with me, even during online sessions, ” he said.
Krishna said he previously received reports from employers where some of his former students used Internet jargon like L.O.L (Laugh Out Loud) and “weder” (whether) in official documents.
He said many developed countries were using newspapers daily to promote writing and speaking skills, which were fundamental in securing employment in multinational companies.
He stressed that the use of the newspapers in class was still relevant.
“Newspapers provide different perspectives to students when it comes to business, health and world events, ” he highlighted.
He said those who started reading newspapers at a younger age were better informed when they reached higher learning institutions and they could easily meet the demands of employers.
“I have said to my students that they will benefit more by reading the newspapers, ” he added.
Krishna, who hails from Taman Sikamat in Seremban, started his career in education in the early 1990s by offering free tuition classes to secondary school students from lower income backgrounds, before moving to Kuala Lumpur to teach at a private education institution.
In 2011, he was instrumental in setting up an educational foundation to provide skills training for those who couldn’t enter higher learning institutions.
For the last six years, Krishna who is semi-paralysed after being afflicted by polio as a child, has helped some 6,000 underprivileged young women with business and language courses and equipped them with new skills to earn extra income.