Education and the community: FAS lecturers conduct free tuition and leadership programme for Tamil school pupils

With the aim to provide quality education as well as to strike a balance between experiential learning and fun outside the classroom for young schoolchildren, UTAR Faculty of Arts and Social Science’s (FAS) Department of Public Relations (DPR) in collaboration with Department of Soft Skills Competency (DSSC) of Kampar Campus organised a series of Community Outreach Programme, namely free “English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mathematics Tuition” programme and “Students Leadership Development Programme” for selected Tamil primary schools in Kampar and Gopeng from July to November 2019.

Schoolchildren of SJK (T) Ladang Kota Bahroe completing their homework during the free tuition programme

Held for a duration of three months from July to October 2019, the first outreach programme, called free “English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mathematics Tuition” programme was structured and catered for a total of 14 students from SJK (T) Ladang Kota Bahroe, Gopeng.

The programme aimed to support young schoolchildren especially those from the household income of Below 40. The tuition classes were delivered by a group of academics from FAS who volunteered to provide a two-way learning opportunity for the schoolchildren. The free tuition programme also aimed to improve language proficiency amongst the Indian students studying in Tamil schools so that they are on par with students from the National Schools.

The Head of DPR Dr S Maartandan Suppiah explained, “The tuition programme, in the long run, would help to bridge the gap that exists in language proficiency. The English language emerged as one of the most important languages in the world. Students will need to have great proficiency in English and by mastering English, it would help students to access millions of reading materials, thus enabling them to improve in Science and Mathematics subjects.”

Participants of the Students Leadership Development Programme all smiles for a group photograph with UTAR staff and students

In addition, the “Students Leadership Development Programme” was successfully carried out for SJK (T) Ladang Kampar and SJK (T) Mambang Diawan students on 20 November 2019 at UTAR Kampar Campus. It was held as part of the mission towards achieving an all-rounded and effective holistic education. A total of 14 students from SJK (T) Ladang Kampar and 26 students from SJK (T) Mambang Diawan participated in the educational-yet-engaging leadership development programme. The leadership development programme meant to motivate them to shoulder leadership roles besides instilling leadership skills among the Tamil primary schoolchildren.

As part of the leadership development programme, a motivational talk on “Leadership Qualities” was arranged and it was delivered by UTAR Centre for Foundation Studies Assistant Lecturer Gangadurai Ganesan. Besides the talk, the students also had a practical learning session via games that enabled them to harness their leadership skills.

Dr Maartandan added, “The leadership development programme equipped the students with leadership skills that allowed them to have control over their lives. The programme also helped to instil confidence and enabled the participants to solve problems creatively, work in teams and work jointly with others. We hope the programme would improve the participants’ self-confidence, problem-solving and pro-social skills besides helping them to make independent decisions and choices.”

A teacher from SJK (T) Mambang Diawan S. Rani enthused, “It is indeed a great platform for young kids to participate in this leadership development programme. The activities such as talk and games provided a new environment for the schoolchildren to explore learning outside the classroom. The programme also gave an opportunity to schoolchildren to speak and communicate with UTAR staff and students in English and Bahasa Malaysia. The programme indeed paved the way for Tamil school students to learn and speak in English and Bahasa Malaysia with more confidence.”

Another teacher, also from SJK (T) Mambang Diawan M. Magendran thanked UTAR for organising such a great programme for the schoolchildren and he hoped that UTAR would continue journeying its mission towards nurturing young students via leadership programme of this kind.

One of the participants of Students Leadership Development Programme N. Tinissha said, “I am very happy to be part of this fun leadership programme. The activities, especially the station games, enabled me to learn many new skills such as how to work in a team as well as how to communicate with other students, participants and lecturers from UTAR. Through the programme, I was able to learn new words especially new Chinese words from UTAR students who assisted us throughout the games. It was a memorable experience for me.”

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