Empowering Orang Asli Community Towards Education

According to statistics reported by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, 42% of indigenous children fail to enter secondary school. Most indigenous children live in remote areas where access to education is severely limited. As such, many enter primary school with little or no ability to read, write and count. This puts them at a significant disadvantage right from the start. Therefore, it is not surprising that up to 75% of indigenous children will not complete their basic education.

The Empowered2Teach Pre-School Project plays a role in addressing this issue by empowering the indigenous community to start their own pre-school classes. We do this by training and equipping indigenous teachers who are recommended by their village leaders based on their strong desire to educate children. The teachers receive support and teaching resources to start their own pre-school classes. Using the project as a platform to initiate improvement, the teachers serve as catalysts for education and development in their respective villages. It is our hope that through this project, indigenous young children will be adequately prepared for primary school and will have the basic foundation needed to work towards completing their formal education.

The classroom is run like any other children’s pre-school program. Classes are taught regularly to about 20 – 25 young children. Using various teaching resources available to them, the teachers develop their lesson plans for each specific group of children based on their age and learning capacity. We assist them by providing a pre-school syllabus, books, tools and other teaching aids. Because each class is a stand-alone pre-school class, the teacher’s imprint is seen in the way each class is set up according to the needs of their community. To ensure continued guidance and support, we have monthly meetings with the teachers at each village.

To addresses challenges faced by the community –

•  25% of Orang Asli children fail to enter secondary school
•  Gap in Orang Asli community without access to pre-school education
•  Support the government in implementing the Malaysian Government’s National Education Blueprint (2013 – 2025)

The project aims to empower the Orang Asli community to achieve the Malaysian Government’s Education goals –

Malaysian Education Blueprint (2013 – 2025) states:

“The National Blueprint looks into a shift that includes non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as potential partners in expanding the program to include schools that cater to more disadvantaged communities such as indigenous and minority groups, students with special needs, and rural schools. The private sector is expected to support delivery of enrolment targets, with 70% of new preschools expected to be privately run.”