Free lessons for the needy


SCROLLING through social media was just a pastime for Muhammad Aiman Azmi (pic) until he chanced on a free self-improvement learning platform.

The 18-year-old from Petaling Jaya was checking out his friends’ Instagram when he came across an ad for SOLS 24/7 Education, a non-profit online learning platform offering free classes to Malaysia’s B40 community.

The platform offers 195 classes across three pillars – English, Digital Skills and Personal Development.

The organisation decided to move their education programmes online when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and so far, have touched the lives of over 20,000 Malaysians.

“I booked my first class, an English class that was happening the very next day, and was excited to be taught by an international teacher. I ended up joining more classes to enhance my knowledge, ” he told StarEdu.

Muhammad Aiman who comes from a poor family, had recently started college but was forced to drop out because he couldn’t afford the fees.

“I have to fund my own studies so I had to look for cheaper alternatives.“I was accepted into a government polytechnic for the same accounting course I had signed up for in the private college but the fees are much more affordable.”

Since classes at the polytechnic only starts in January next year, he wanted to make sure his free time was spent productively.

He had planned to spend the coming months improving his command of the English language as he believes it will open doors for him in his future career.

A survey of the English classes in the market left him disheartened as they were all beyond his budget.

Frustrated, disappointed and on the verge of giving up, he wondered if his B40 background would always be a stumbling block to improving himself.

So when he found out that he could improve his English proficiency with SOLS 24/7 Education, he did not hesitate.

“Suddenly, I felt like I had an equal opportunity to succeed in life.

“I spend between one to two hours a day learning online.

“After joining the programme, I can form correct sentences in English. I have also learnt many new words, ” he added.

SOLS 24/7 Education founder and chief executive officer Raj Ridvan Singh said: “We knew we had to do something as millions of students were going to be at home with their education massively disrupted by the pandemic.”

The online platform was launched on March 30 but the team is constantly working to fine tune the existing content.

“We are also looking to develop new content to benefit more students, ” he said, adding that the organisation has set a target to reach 100,000 online learners on the platform by the end of December.

To achieve this, public support to help maintain the cost of running the platform’s tech stack, employing teachers and conducting outreach efforts to target underprivileged communities virtually is needed, said Raj Ridvan.

“We are also looking for passionate volunteers to join us as online teachers to serve the B40 communities.”During times of crisis, such as the current pandemic and ensuing recovery period, online classes will play an even bigger role in supporting people’s lives and ensuring their future-readiness, he said.

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