Teacher for Orang Asli school wins RISE Educator Award 2024


(From left) Taylor’s University vice-chancellor and president Professor Barry Winn, Education Ministry’s Education Resources and Educational Technology Division deputy director Fadzliaton Zainudin, Tan, Dass, Wong, Mohd Zamarol and Charun with the mock cheque of the RM20,000 sponsorship for SK RPS Banun.

TAYLOR’S College and its student engagement arm, The Risers, crowned Shawn Stanly Anthony Dass as this year’s RISE Educator Award winner on June 8.

The dedicated educator who teaches in a remote village in Gerik, Perak, was awarded RM5,000 for his achievement and RM20,000 for his school, Sekolah Kebangsaan RPS Banun.

This year, 10 exceptional teachers were shortlisted for their inspiring stories and these teachers were featured on Taylor’s College social media pages for public voting.

Five inspiring teachers with the most votes were Dass, along with Anne Margarette Kho from SK Belipat, Sarawak; Muhammad Anas Murugan Abdullah from SK Seri Intan, Perak; Siti Ainulmursyida Shamsudin from SMK Orkid Desa, Kuala Lumpur; and Siti Intan Farahana Mhd Fauzy from SK Bandar Laguna Merbok, Kedah.

At the award ceremony, Taylor’s College campus director Josephine Tan emphasised the college’s commitment to equitable education for all children: “At Taylor’s College, we believe in ensuring every child has equal opportunities to learn, grow and thrive.

“Aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we firmly believe that education is a powerful catalyst for transformation and social progress. Through initiatives like the RISE Educator Award, we aim to honour and support teachers who exemplify excellence and dedication in their profession.

“Beyond the RM20,000 awarded to the winning school, we remain committed to supporting their educational aspirations,” she added.

The award ceremony was also attended by Deputy Education Minister Wong Kah Woh and Teach For Malaysia fellowship interim head Sawittri Charun.

“It is a privilege to partner with Taylor’s College in honouring educators who go above and beyond to inspire and empower. We were deeply moved by their stories, as they reflect the transformative efforts of educators across Malaysia.

“Shawn’s inspiring commitment in enriching Orang Asli students’ learning, reminds us of our mission at Teach for Malaysia in combating education inequity,” remarked Charun.

Dass’ innovative teaching approaches have profoundly enriched student learning and engagement at SK RPS Banun, an all-Orang Asli school, where illiteracy and high dropout rates are issues plaguing the school.

With the prize money, Dass is looking to build a learning hub for his students.

“The hub won’t be limited to students, it will also be open to parents and the wider community to encourage it as a communal space,” he said, adding that a properly equipped classroom was essential for students’ conducive learning too.

“The reality for my students is that they may be behind on their 3Rs so I have to find a way to ‘fit’ into their way of learning. This led me to think of new ways to enable the learning process,” he said.

One of his notable projects includes the development of a flight simulator and a beach-themed marine conservation class, both of which have been instrumental in helping students grasp complex concepts through experiential learning.

“In my classroom, inclusion is key. My teaching methods have boosted student motivation and participation, leading to improved attendance and confidence. This has nurtured resilience and grit, encouraging students to embrace learning.

“While illiteracy isn’t completely solved, there has been progress since June 2022.

“By providing learning opportunities and empowering students, academic performance and extracurricular involvement have soared.

“As my students continue to excel, it showcases their potential and underscores the importance of providing opportunities and believing in their abilities.

“Winning this award underscores the immense potential of our students.

“I am deeply committed to providing them with the best learning experiences and opportunities to realise their full potential,” Dass further said.

SK RPS Banun headmaster Mohd Zamarol Ahmad expressed profound pride in Dass’ outstanding achievement in winning RM20,000 for the school, saying: “The grant will be instrumental in establishing a dedicated learning hub for our students.

“We are committed to supporting Shawn in his future endeavours and will always champion his efforts to provide exceptional education for our students.”

Each finalist of the RISE Educator Award 2024 also received RM1,000, with an additional RM10,000 allocated to their schools to enhance facilities or infrastructure to support a conducive environment for quality education.

The selection process for the winner and finalists was crafted to blend the voice of the public (25% weightage) with the evaluation of a distinguished panel.

This panel included Tan, Teach for Malaysia chief executive officer Chan Soon Seng and RISE Educator of the Year 2023 Kumaresan Muniandy, who assessed the nominees’ efforts and impacts (75% weightage) in their decision.

For more on the RISE Educator Award

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