8 NOVEMBER 2018, KUALA LUMPUR: As students across Malaysia gear up for the upcoming Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination which will start on 13 November 2018, more than 2,500 Form 5 students from 105 schools in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and the district of Mersing in Johor, are well-prepared to achieve better grades following their participation in the empower ECER Academic Training programme this year.
The empower ECER programme is an initiative by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) implemented in collaboration with its strategic partners, including local universities and non-governmental organisations. The effort is part of the Government’s inclusive and equitable strategy to ensure that the younger generation from the East Coast states, especially underperforming students from low income families, are able to excel academically. This will in turn, enable them to further their studies and attain success in their chosen careers and enjoy better social mobility in the future.
Various activities, including academic, motivational and leadership courses are organised to assist empower ECER students.
Recognising the unique challenges faced by low-income pupils in their studies, the empower ECER programme takes a holistic and targeted approach to help them achieve better academic results. In addition to tuition classes for core subjects, motivational and leadership courses are offered to improve interpersonal skills and boost the students’ desire to attain success. To
facilitate greater participation from the students, the programme’s learning experiences are made interactive and fun, supported by the active involvement of teachers and parents.
Nurul Nadhirah, a participant of empower ECER, with her family (first picture, standing far left) and studying with friends at school (second picture, right).
Nurul Nadhirah bt. Mohd Nor from Tanah Merah, Kelantan, is one of the empower ECER participants whose family subsists on a monthly income of less than RM1,000. Prior to her participation, Nurul had scored 3As last year in her final examinations. Nurul, a student at SMK Dato’ Mahmod Paduka Raja 1, attended regular tuition, motivational and character-building courses under the empower ECER programme, which successfully helped her improve her grades to 7As in the latest SPM trial examination. She is determined to perform better in her actual examination and secure a spot in a university, thus allowing her to gain better employment so that she is able to uplift her family’s livelihood.
Recognising the importance of education, Fatin Nur, a student from SMK Ungku Husin, aspires to become a teacher to contribute to society.
Fatin Nur Ain binti Kamaruddin believes that poverty should not be a hindrance to achieving academic success. Motivated and encouraged by her empower ECER facilitators, the student of SMK Ungku Husin, Mersing, Johor spends at least five hours a day after school for revisions. She successfully obtained 6As in her recent SPM trial examination after she joined the empower ECER programme, as compared to her previous score of 3As. With her good results, she hopes
to fulfil her aspiration to become a teacher and ease her parents’ burden while giving back to society via education.
These success stories are not isolated cases. Between 2010 and 2017, ECERDC’s empower ECER Academic Training programme has had a huge impact, reaching more than 51,400 underperforming students within the ECER, involving 441 schools including 18 Orang Asli schools. As a testament to the programme’s effectiveness, 81% of the participants have achieved better academic results after participating in the programme.