Juyana is toast of Orang Asli school

11/14/2010 — New Starits Times
Being the first Orang Asli student in Runchang to get 5As in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination, Juyana Teor Bak Song has become an instant celebrity at her school and village.
It is a significant achievement considering that Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang, which caters to the Orang Asli community under the Runchang resettlement scheme, has never produced a straight As student since it was opened in 1992.
“She (Juyana) has become an icon to the students and the people here and we are all very proud of her,” said SK Runchang headmaster Ismail Md Yassin.
Ismail said various programmes held at the school for the past few years were starting to yield positive results. One of them is the Sinar ECER (East Coast Economic Region) programme that was introduced by the ECER Development Council (ECERDC) last year.
Jointly organised by ECERDC and Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), the Sinar ECER programme focuses on children from hardcore poor families who participate in the ECER’s Agropolitan project.
The Agropolitan project is a key initiative under ECER which will help increase a participant’s income up to RM2,000 per month through agricultural activities such as sheep-rearing, oil palm plantation and aquaponics.
ECERDC social development division general manager Zulkifli Yaakob said the main aim of the programme was to change the mindset of the students and the community so that they would give priority to education.
“We are taking a holistic approach so that the whole family of participants will benefit from the agropolitan project,” he said at the launching of Sinar ECER Kids Camp at SK Runchang yesterday.
Also present was UMK Agro-Industry and Natural Resources Faculty dean Professor Dr Ibrahim Che Omar, who is the chairman for the ECER Higher Education Ministry’s excellence centre.
As for Juyana, the support she received from the teachers and various parties had made her more determined to succeed.
“I can only focus on my studies in school as I have to help my parents take care of my younger siblings and perform daily chores once I am home,” said the seventh child of 10 siblings.
Aspiring to be a doctor, Juyana said the Orang Asli students could also excel in their studies if they were given proper guidance and motivation.