GONE are the days when studies were about memorising facts and high standardised test scores meant success.
Today in a world that is ever-changing, education is no longer just learning tangible and measurable skills but rather preparing our children to face the real world’s challenges.
“If you ask Google what key skills are relevant to the future, adaptability will be at the top of the list and this is exactly what we want to promote in Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ.)
“The dynamic world that we live in, coupled with technology, transforms business and jobs faster than the workforce can adapt.
“Another 10 to 15 years down the road, our students may find themselves in jobs that don’t exist today.
“For instance, our digital marketing officer Victoria Cox is a living proof. Digital marketing didn’t exist when she was in school, ” shared KTJ principal Dr Glenn Moodie.
To prepare for an uncertain future, students today are required to learn new skills different than those traditionally taught in schools.
“Entrepreneurship education cultivates innovative talents, which are an important driving force for future development.
“Being an entrepreneur means more than just starting a business but rather possessing entrepreneurial qualities and characteristics significant to being a productive citizen and excelling in one’s career.
“We instil in our students skills such as adaptability, teamwork, communication, creativity and critical thinking, ” said Moodie.
At KTJ, students are encouraged to strive for high academic standards while broadening their interests with a wide range of extra-curricular activities in an environment that cultivates a learning culture that enables students to think unconventionally.
“In addition to the compulsory curriculum, the school creates learning opportunities for students to challenge themselves with personal goals, and to develop the confidence and self-assurance to achieve them through special projects in partnership with industry players, among others.
“Engaging with industry players benefits students in terms of acquiring skills and knowledge, in addition to giving students the experience of real-life challenges, ” he said.
For example, the recent Oxbridge and KTJ Engineering workshop saw external international schools joining KTJ students in a challenge to build a ship or boat that can transport a maximum amount of cargo at top speed across the waters from Malaysia to Singapore.
“This means having a customer with specific requirements, materials at your disposal, a testing facility, a deadline, a budget and a set number of resources, and the projects were presented to engineers for evaluation, ” said Moodie.
Meanwhile, three teams from KTJ participated in the Land Rover 4x4 Schools Challenge which required participants to design and build a radio controlled 4x4 vehicle that could negotiate a specially designed test track. The teams bagged the Verbal Presentation Award, National Champion Award and Best Newcomer Award.
In addition to various student-driven pursuits, students also have access to an abundance of opportunities with local and international educators and professionals through workshops and conferences.
KTJ students recently took part in a management and leadership workshop led by Les Roches and Glion, two of the world’s leading management and hospitality institutes, at The Four Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
“Their skills were tested through a series of challenges, which included building an intricate Lego model. Overall, it was a great experience for our students, ” he said.
Alumni success stories
KTJ together with its experienced staff provide a supportive and caring environment in which students can acquire strong leadership skills and awareness of the needs of others, besides forming life-long friendship with fellow students and even embark on their careers together.
Former head boy Ryan Quek and his KTJ peer Bryant Tee formed a company in London called INT that offers badminton shuttlecocks at affordable prices.
They started out by bringing in top-quality shuttlecocks produced in Malaysia and sold them at disruptive prices to friends, and later on, to customers, clubs and universities.
They used to hand-carry shuttlecocks and now they import over 100kg of shuttlecocks in each air cargo shipment. Their recent INT Badminton Tournament 2019 attracted 96 participants.
Another KTJ alumni success story is Azrene Ahmad who graduated in 1998. She now runs her own innovative reversible clothing company for children called Three Little Ahmads.
Her reversible garments have different patterns inside and out, and feature hidden tags, magnetic buttons, and styles that are worn from the front with buttons at the back, intended for children with autism and limited abilities.
Her company recently won the Government’s Teraju Superb 2019 Award which carries with it an RM500,000 grant.
Alumni Nadiah Hanim graduated from KTJ in 2000 and was recently appointed as a children’s court advisor.
She is tasked with helping the courts in child protection cases. Among her multitude of roles are sustainability and corporate affairs consultant; Malaysian Rare Disorders Society vice-president; OpiS International co-founder; South-East Asia, India and South Korea regional representative for the Phelan McDermid Syndrome (PMS) Foundation; Petaling District assistant child protector; Petaling Jaya child court advisor; and a member of the Malaysia International Search and Rescue Organisation.
Prior to this, Nadiah was the former head of corporate affairs and head of corporate responsibility at a leading Malaysian multinational conglomerate.
The 32ha school campus nestled in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan, boasts three decades of heritage with strong support from its board of trustees led by chairman of trustees Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar who is the eldest son of the former Yang di-Pertuan Besar of the state.
Having eight boarding houses to provide a special system of pastoral care for secondary students, KTJ takes pride in its distinctive boarding feature as part of offering a well-rounded education structure.
“Being in the boarding school community allows students to explore their talents and interests and at the same time develop a strong character foundation.
“We are not just preparing them for work but to have an impact on society, or rather to shape the future and embrace opportunities we have yet to encounter, ” emphasised Moodie.
Currently, KTJ has about 800 secondary school students and KTJ Primary School about 200, with more than 100 staff members featuring 48% internationally-trained teachers.
To know more about what KTJ has to offer, visit www.ktj.edu.my
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