Sinar ECER initiative for poor families showing positive results

11/20/2010 — The Star
Programmes for children under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) are showing results with 12 orang asli pupils from SK Runchang passing their Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examinations with at least a distinction.
Juyana Teor Bak Song was the first orang asli pupil to score 5As since the inception of the school back in 1992.
The children’s programmes named Sinar ECER was initiated to assist the underprivileged children from hardcore poor families under the agropolitan schemes.
ECER Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said the children’s programmes was aimed to promote academic excellence, develop positive attitudes and help character-building among the young.
“The positive feedback from parents is highly encouraging and ECERDC looks forward to gain continuous support for the Sinar ECER programmes in the coming years.
“ECER’s agropolitan project serves to provide hardcore families, including the orang asli community, with a sustainable income while educating their children to be self-dependent and excel in their studies,” he said.
Issace John said through activities such as sheep rearing, oil palm plantation and aquaponics, the household income for the participants had increased significantly within a year of implementation, in addition to creating an opportunity for them to enjoy a better quality of life.
He said the Sinar ECER programmes were part of a holistic approach in supporting the agropolitan families to adjust to their new life, following their involvement in the project.
“The programmes take on an integrated approach which involve personal development, academic achievements and team participation in competitive games.
“For example, the kids camp teaches motivation and positive attitude while interactive day provides the hardcore poor children social and communication skills to boost their confidence,” he said.
Others include tuition classes to help children, aged between six and nine, to acquire basic reading, arithmetic and writing skills.
For students between the ages of 10 and 12, especially those sitting for the UPSR examinations, additional tutorials in Malay, English, Science and Mathematics were organised.
In a separate event, some 100 pupils from the Pekan agropolitan project took part in the kids camp held at SK Runchang recently.
The programme was jointly organised by ECERDC and Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK).
Present at the launch were ECERDC’s social development division general manager Zulkifli Yaakob, UMK’s Agro-Industries and Natural Resources Faculty dean Prof Dr Ibrahim Che Omar and SK Runchang headmaster Ismail Md Yassin.
Teor, who was the toast of the school, said she was only able to study about two hours daily at home as she had to help take care of her younger siblings and perform daily chores.
“Whenever I have time, I would study and do revision together with my classmates in school with the help of our teachers.
“Two of my elder sisters are a teacher and a trainee nurse. However, I am the first in my family to score 5As in UPSR,” she said, adding that she was grateful to her teachers and headmaster for the good results.
Teor said she hoped to get a scholarship to continue studying at a boarding school in Kuala Lumpur and become a doctor and serve her community when she grew up.
Ismail said it was a significant achievement for the school because 100% of its pupils were from the orang asli community under the Runchang resettlement scheme.
”We are very proud with Teor’s achievements together with Eng Shek Yen who obtained 3As and 2Bs, in addition to 10 others who got at least one distinctions each for this year’s UPSR.
”Of the 57 pupils who registered for the examinations, 33 of them sat for the papers,” he said, adding that the passing rate was 44.11% as compared to 33.33% for last year.
Dr Ibrahim, who is also the chairman for the ECER Higher Education Ministry’s excellence centre, said the university would continue to provide guidance to Teor and other excellence pupils and hope they would do well in their secondary education.