Helping underserved kids

Ensuring learning continuity: (standing, from right) Yee, Chew and Phang during the tablet handover session in the Klang Valley last year.

CHILDREN from the B40 community in Johor stand to benefit from a programme that has reached out to 400 of their peers in the Klang Valley, Penang and Sarawak.

Under the Deloitte KidsEdu programme, children from B40 families will be given help in improving their English language, science and mathematics proficiency.

The initiative in Johor is the result of a partnership between Yayasan Johor Corporation and Deloitte Malaysia.

The KidsEdu programme, said Yayasan Johor Corporation chairman Rozaini Mohd Sani, is aimed at developing knowledgeable children who are not only confident of communicating in English, but empowered to face the challenges in an increasingly competitive and digital world.

The virtual event was held on on June 12 to mark the second anniversary of the programme in the Klang Valley.

Established in June 2019, weekly Deloitte KidsEdu classes had been conducted physically until they were moved online in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To help ease the transition, Deloitte raised RM80,000, which was used to purchase 120 tablets for KidsEdu children from the Desa Mentari and Sri Pantai People’s Housing Projects (PPRs) in the Klang Valley and Sekolah Kanak-Kanak Terencat Akal (SKTTA) in Penang.

The tablets came equipped with 40GB of YES 4G data, sponsored by YTL Foundation.

Deloitte Malaysia chief executive officer Yee Wing Peng said Internet access and information technology equipment are limited for most families in PPRs.

“I’m delighted that together, we can enable access to education for some of these communities,” he said in a press release.

As online classes gained traction, the programme was expanded to cater for over 250 students in Kota Samarahan in Sarawak, in collaboration with the district education office.

“We’re so encouraged on this second anniversary to see that our student number has grown from 100 to almost 400, with 60 Deloitte volunteer teachers clocking in more than 600 hours for this programme,” said Yee.

The event also celebrated the first anniversary of Deloitte KidsEdu in Penang. The programme, which was first introduced to 20 students from the Taman Tun Sardon Village Community Management Council (MPKK) in Bukit Gelugor, in March last year, has since included more than 60 students from SKTTA.

More recently, the Deloitte office in Penang raised RM26,000 to purchase 20 computers for children under the Malaysian Semiconductor Industry Association’s (MSIA) Care programme.

Also present at the virtual celebration were Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) founding president Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin, SKKTA vice president and MSIA president Datuk Sri Wong Siew Hai, YTL Foundation programme director Datuk Kathleen Chew and MyPJ chairman Jeffrey Phung.

Wong said the devices have enabled teachers and students to continue their learning during the movement control order period.

“KidsEdu is a worthy cause as volunteers give one hour of their time weekly to teach and interact with the students, which is very helpful,” he added.

Tunku Zain said as everyone stays home, children not only need to receive structured formal education, be it in languages, mathematics or science, but also to learn, and be exposed to, different cultures, world views, religions and geographical areas.

“This is how we create empathy, raise awareness of issues affecting communities around the world, and enable collaboration between young people who might never physically meet.

“From the conversations the volunteers had with the children, it’s clear that there’s a close rapport.

“It shows a real commitment and emotional investment in the programme,” he said.

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