First social platform for free education, powered by ‘you’
On the lookout for more sponsors and volunteers
A GROUP of volunteers, backed by sponsors such as Brickfields Asia College, has launched EduNation, touting it as Malaysia’s first social platform for education and promising free tuition for every Malaysian child.
The group is translating the Malaysian school syllabus into online videos which can be accessed on its website EduNation.my for free, to be supplemented by online tests as well as interactive sessions on its Facebook page and via Google Hangouts.
The website currently has 250 video lessons already up, covering Additional Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Science. Currently, EduNation only has lessons for Form 4 and 5 students online, with an immediate focus to encompass Forms 2 and 3. It hopes to add 40 videos a month.
English and Bahasa Malaysia lessons would also be added this year, with the ultimate aim being to cover the syllabus for both primary and secondary school, EduNation’s ‘chief education guy’ Edmond Yap (pic, right) said at the official launch on April 1.
If there is a similarity with Khan Academy, it’s because the non-profit educational website was the answer to what Yap said had been bothering him for eight years, when he had volunteered to give tuition classes at orphanages.
He said he had come across a 15-year-old boy who did not know how to add ½ and ½, and Yap felt annoyed that nobody had bothered to teach him something so basic in his nine years of schooling.
“I realized that there were thousands, perhaps millions, of students like him – in Malaysia, if you are poor and cannot afford tuition, you will be left behind,” he said.
However, it was only when Yap stumbled across Khan Academy in February 2011 that he realized that there was a way – through the Internet. “It’s brilliant how technology can help democratize education,” he said.
The website already has a channel dedicated to Khan Academy videos, and the EduNation team is working hard to translate many of them from English to Malay. It already contains 1,000 Khan Academy videos, with about 200 of them mapped to the Malaysian school syllabus.
As with its own videos, much of this effort is being undertaken by volunteers. “This is free tuition for every Malaysian child, powered by you and me,” said Yap.
According to EduNation head of education Sugain Maniam (pic above, left), 200 volunteers have already signed up.
“We also have 40 teachers on board who have helped us create content,” he said at the launch which introduced “celebrity volunteers” such as model Amber Chia, David Arumugam of local pop band The Alleycats, former beauty queen Carmen Soo and the rap group NtahSape2Ntah.
EduNation got off to a start thanks to a RM500,000 sponsorship by the Brickfields Asia College (BAC); plus other sponsors such YouTube, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and BrandIT; while Google developers helped to build the platform.
BAC managing director and EduNation co-founder Raja Singham said his college gave the money to get EduNation started mainly because of Yap’s enthusiasm and passion. “We (BAC) may be a for-profit venture, but we believe in channeling this profit into initiatives for the greater good.”
BAC also paid teachers to get on board to create content to “get things moving,” he said, adding however that “we hope that over time, EduNation would be completely volunteer-driven.”
The teachers would also monitor the quality and accuracy of the content put up by volunteers, he said.
“We also expect that most of the volunteers will be students themselves,” Yap said. “People always wonder if they can change the world – I say that with EduNation, you can change the world … in your pyjamas!”
EduNation would welcome more sponsors and especially more volunteers. To find out more about sponsorship, go here. To volunteer, go here.
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