A catalyst for change

  • Technology
  • Monday, 19 Nov 2012

Liew: Spoke on illiteracy among students and her experiences as a teacher.

Teacher Liew Suet Li wants more than to just dream about an education system that is equal for all students in Malaysia. She really wants to pitch in and do something about it.

“I want to be part of the solution,” the 24-year-old said.

After graduating with a degree in economics and psychology last year, Liew chose to devote her time to teaching via the Teach For Malaysia fellowship, instead of pursuing a career in the corporate world.

She now teaches English in a rural secondary school in Simpang Durian in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. “Illiteracy is perhaps one of the biggest problems I see in schools today,” Liew told her audience.

She said it was shocking to see teens unable to read or write, and because these students were so far behind in their classes, they no longer had any motivation to improve themselves.

To do something about this, Liew has taken to coaching two teen students in her class in English in her free time. She has started them out on the most basic of storybooks, and they are slowly but surely improving.

But alone, she cannot do much to overcome illiteracy.

So, she has kicked off a project called Sponsor A Child To Read (www.facebook.com/SponsorAChildToRead) under Teach for Malaysia, where she invites individuals to sponsor the cost of books for her students.

She hopes to provide 20 books each for 50 of her students.

Imagine what could be done if the project snowballs to the extent that students doing poorly in other schools can be helped as well.

Although Liew has only two years to positively impact students under Teach For Malaysia, she said she intended to change their life trajectories.

“I need them to realise that there are so many options in life open to them. My students need to know that they can go anywhere they want with hard work, and not be limited to where their parents are at,” she said.

She urged the audience to consider what they could do to contribute towards reducing illiteracy in our schools. “Together, we can solve this.” — SUSANNA KHOO

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Technology , TEDxYouth@KL


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