By Nurul Halawati Mohamad Azhari
KUALA LUMPUR: Many students thrive in a school with a strong Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG).
An active PIBG committee will not only ensure improved educational facilities but the well-being of school students as well.
However, the PIBG committees in some schools may not able to perform their functions as efficiently due to poor leadership, insufficient funding and uncooperative members.
These are only some of the common problems plaguing PIBG committees in schools.
However, the challenges are much greater for the PIBG in rural schools, as well as those which majority of students are from among the urban poor.
In addition to poor leadership, the PIBG committees in these schools are fraught with other obstacles such as the lack of support from parents, restricted financial capacity and the lack of basic infrastructure.
It is therefore unsurprising that annual statistics continue to show urban students outperforming students in rural and urban poor schools.
The Malaysian government is well aware of the gap in educational outcomes between students of differing socio-economic status.
In fact, it is one of the main issues highlighted in the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB 2013-2025). Many of the initiatives and action plans in the blueprint are aimed at bridging the divide.
An idea emerged during a meeting among the PIBG heads of Putrajaya schools at the end of 2013 to help address this problem – to establish a foundation to support the government’s efforts in lifting the education standards in Malaysia.
Yayasan Sarana Pendidikan Malaysia (YSPM) was then formed in 2013 to improve the quality of education as outlined in the blueprint.
Its chairman Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud said that although the 2013-2025 blueprint was a comprehensive action plan, there was still room for NGOs to provide a meaningful contribution for the cause.
“YSPM wants to utilise this opportunity to assist the PIBG in schools listed as bands 5,6 and 7. The basis of the foundation’s existence is to help narrow the gap in educational performance between urban students and those in rural and urban poor schools,” he explained to Bernama.
However, such efforts naturally require funding.
Abd Ghafar said he was grateful for the government for providing a financial grant for the establishment of the foundation. However, it would still need donations from corporate or private sponsors to sustain its operations.
He hoped that many would come forward and support the foundation’s goal of helping needy students.
YSPM’s main activity would be to provide support and aid for PIBG committees, particularly those in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
Among the ways this could be done is by sharing expertise and providing consultation with leadership experts, providing tools and equipments that the government was unable to provide such as modems, and by organising special activities for such schools.
The foundation would also serve to facilitate smart partnerships between the schools and interested entities.
“For example, the Kasih Pendidik programme saw the collaboration between YSPM and Latar Setia Sdn Bhd, a company that distributes cooking oil packed by Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Felda Global Ventures (FGV)”.
The Kasih Pendidik programme supplies cooking oil that is guaranteed to be pure, halal and clean to school cooperatives to ease the burden on teachers, school support staff, parents, school canteen operators and hostel dining halls in providing affordably-priced food for students.
“YSPM will receive a small contribution for every packet of oil sold by the company,” Abd Ghafar explained.
YSPM’s support and assistance are subject to two basic requisites.
Firstly, the aid requested must not be that which the government can provide.
The second requisite states that all the assistance requested must ultimately be related to the six student aspirations as stated in the MEB 2013-2025, namely knowledge, thinking skills, leadership skills, bilingual proficiency, ethics and spirituality and national identity.
YSPM will be hosting a fundraising dinner on May 26 at the Majestic Hotel in KL to help realise its purpose.
Abd Ghafar said the funds raised would help in assisting the PIBG at various rural schools.
“Over 60 percent of PIBG in rural schools are still lacking in various aspects and in need of assistance.”
The foundation is welcoming companies interested in carrying out their CSR programmes towards education to contribute by buying tables at the dinner.
Tables are priced at RM10,000, RM20,000 and RM30,000.
For further information, browse www.yspm.org.my or call 03-20968961/62.