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International Day of Education: How My Skills Foundation is improving education among youth in Malaysia

improving education in Malaysia

Celebrated on January 24, the International Day of Education is an occasion to acknowledge the role education plays in peace and development. As an organization committed to uniting our world through global education, we prioritize education to improve outcomes for children.

We were lucky enough to have an insightful conversation with Devasharma, CEO, Myskills Foundation, a nonprofit organization educating youth in Malaysia.

Q
What role does education play in the development of an individual?

Devasharma – I believe education is one of the fundamental values and brings human development to a whole new perspective. The culture created that education, but unfortunately, we are too formal from informal. Sometimes, we forget what is fundamental. So there is a crucial challenge that we’re addressing at the current time. But I believe that education is something you can’t take away from somebody. And people must understand, it’s not something on this page where they feel they are done. No man will stop learning. Men will continue searching for themselves until they achieve their purpose or realize why they are brought into the earth. And education plays a vital role in that.

Q
Are these issues very centred towards the underdeveloped and developing nations, or is it equally prevalent all around the globe?

Devasharma – It is a global phenomenon that exists all around the world. In Malaysia, we realized that even the terminology was very uncommon. Most people are not aware of youth delinquency and why it is crucial.

So basically, even though you have become a developed country but don’t control this, you can quickly go backwards. We need to equip our youth with sufficient education and resources to turn them into assets. They will work to contribute to the nation’s growth and will not allow the birth of future youth at risk. But if you fail to do so, the ripple effects are so scary.

Our methodology is that we approve these youth from the original high-risk environment, put them into a place where we can enable their potentials, and teach them the value.

When they go out, they must have a strong sense of gratitude and responsibility and appreciate whatever opportunity they’re given to them. This approach is quite crucial. It’s easy to say now, but I’m talking about years and years of training and monitoring and a bit of hand-holding they need. It will take some time, but we can make this a reality together.

Q
Where does the difference come from between developed & developing countries’ education systems?

Devasharma – I think the income gap is a significant factor. And this is maybe one of the impacts from the COVID or pandemic hit economy, but when you look at the underdeveloped countries, the income gap and disparity is enormous. So chances of a lorry driver’s son becoming a lorry driver is very high. The chances of an alcoholic giving birth to alcoholic kids, males especially, is very high. So the trend becomes even worse among the poor people. The pockets of poverty, let it be urban or rural, it’s always the same.

What do you see that 20 or 30 years ago, the current reality is everybody’s already connected unless they’re stuck in a very remote place, like far beyond the geographical reach or beyond technology outrage. But at the moment, I think most rural areas are already connected; they’re already exposed to all this, the commercial sectors in a larger context.

I think the challenges for the current youths in terms of educational goals are becoming very tough because many elements are trying to distract them or disrupt the learning experience.

Q
What were the challenges faced by My Skills Foundation during the pandemic?

Devasharma – The pandemic made a standstill in everything, not just on the economy but also in social mobility and other aspects of our lives. We closed schools for more than a year. So among all the Asian developing countries, Malaysia is number one with the highest learning losses. Many kids faced severe learning challenges due to a lack of good internet or devices or a quiet place.

After the post lockdown, most schools have challenging experiences at a minor scale. So basically, we house residential approach, like we approved the youth from the original ecosystem, we take them in because we got 34 acres of campus.

For the last 18 months, we never sent anybody back. So the resources like food and other essentials will be coming in for us because it’s pretty autonomous that we can manage our food and accommodation here.

There are many resources like sports, avenues, skills training, and we are pretty much connected to the internet. There are a lot of volunteers to still connect to us and all that. There are many reasons to keep our sanity alive on that campus. We are one of the organization’s owners, where we kept everything alive when most schools closed down.

Q
How can corporate volunteers support and help nonprofits like My Skills Foundation?

Devasharma – There are many good Samaritans out there waiting to make a change in the community. The volunteers make a significant impact by complementing many dependency areas like NGOs, who are totally dependent on grants or donations.

So the volunteers come with many pro bono skills; sometimes, they could spend time meters to keep the capacity to meet the more considerable demand of becoming self-sustaining. They are passionate people, but they may not be competent.

So this is where corporate volunteers can come in to help and complement all these competency skills. We are creating some equilibrium in the skills and the knowledge transfer.

It’s a double bonus; you sustain that energy mobility and teach the beneficiaries who think life is very hard. It would help if you gained something ethically. So that will lead you to a lot of excellent outcomes. The universe will give you back and will reward you accordingly. That’s what we believe.

Celebrate International Day of Education with My Skills Foundation and Goodera

Goodera empowers nonprofits such as My Skills Foundation through brand advocacy, fundraising, and long-term volunteers.

We hope that this interview helped you understand the widening gap prevailing in our education systems around the world and how we can fill that gap using technology and inclusion.

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