Agents of #Change: FrogAsia
As part of the series on fellow education reformers in Malaysia, this week’s post features FrogAsia, a company dedicated to connecting the education community of Malaysia through a single, cloud-based teaching and learning platform. Here, Lou Yeoh Executive Director of FrogAsia, tells us more about the organisation and shares her insights on education in Malaysia.
What is FrogAsia, and what are its key features?
We are an education company with a passion for transforming the way students learn and teachers teach through technology. Our desire is to encourage students to learn beyond the classroom – to become knowledge seekers, world explorers and idea generators by exposing them to the use of the Internet as a force for good. To achieve this, we are working with the Ministry of Education to implement the 1BestariNet project, which aims to bridge the digital divide by providing access to quality education through our online learning platform, the Frog VLE and high-speed Internet connectivity on the Yes 4G network.
What inspired YTL and Frog Education to start FrogAsia?
The YTL Group has long been committed to supporting education in Malaysia through sponsoring scholarship programmes and funding school buildings. The Group has also launched the first 4G network in Malaysia, the Yes 4G network, which covers all major highways and rural areas that once had zero Internet access. In the UK, Frog Education is among the leading learning platform companies with a track record of over 13 years. Combining our passion and expertise in both the education and learning-technology arenas, we created FrogAsia to play our part in transforming education in Malaysia and the region.
What are some of the challenges FrogAsia has encountered?
We have been given the remit of transforming all 10,000 government schools in the country through our technology. That’s a pretty big task! Persuading teachers to adopt a new way of teaching means asking them to give up long ingrained routines, which is never easy. We’ve had many ideas and tried many ways to engage not just teachers but also students and parents, not all of which have succeeded. It’s been a case of learning to understand people better and not fearing failure. We have to keep learning from our mistakes, keep tweaking our ideas, persistently try again and remind ourselves why we do what we do.
If you had to name one thing about FrogAsia that you’re proudest of, what would it be?
We have been called the world’s first company to connect an entire nation through a single, cloud-based learning platform. That’s an amazing start, but honestly there’s still a lot to do! Our Leaps of Knowledge series of conferences and talks have definitely been a highlight. It’s been such a privilege to bring the inspirational speakers and thought leaders like Nick Vujicic, Sugata Mitra and Julia Immonen to Malaysia to remind, encourage, inspire and challenge Malaysians to take advantage of the opportunities we have with 1BestariNet to make a difference through education. Learning is changing in Malaysia, and we’re proud to be at the centre of that!
In your opinion, why do you think education is important?
For us, education is synonymous with hope, opportunity and a brighter future for both the nation and the next generation. That’s why we emphasise that quality learning should be accessible so that students have the ability to dream big and go further. Learning is not just about acquiring knowledge. It is important to expose students to a world beyond textbooks to help them think critically, to inspire them and to nurture in them a sense of responsibility to play their part to make a difference with what they do.
How do you think collaboration can play a part in improving the education landscape in Malaysia?
Improving the quality of education in the country is one monumental task. So many aspects need to be looked into; therefore working collaboratively with everyone in the field is really important. We love the fact that when people have access to technology, we can partner with content publishers to provide quality digital content to everyone. We’re also excited to be working with others in the industry globally and locally like WWF and Teach For Malaysia as well as key players like Google on initiatives to encourage holistic learning beyond the classroom. It’s crucial that we all work together with schools, parents and teachers to ensure students get the best education.
What’s your vision for education in Malaysia?
We would love to see everyone in Malaysia have affordable access to quality education. At FrogAsia, our vision is to address this through technology. What drives us is the potential of seeing schools across the nation connected, sharing and collaborating on one common platform, tapping into each others’ knowledge and accessing best-of-breed content from all over the world. This will help improve student engagement, academic achievement and language proficiency, all of which are by-products of providing high-quality education. Our aim is to continuously stay close to the needs of the local schools, so that we can innovate and deliver the best tools and services for providing quality education.
If you could send a message to the students of Malaysia, especially those from challenging socio-economic backgrounds, what would it be?
Curiosity to learn new things is something that’s available to anyone, no matter what your background. Satisfy that curiosity by constantly learning and seeking knowledge by any means possible. Get hold of books, videos or any type of resources you can find to learn, go to the library, ask many questions and learn new skills. The pursuit of knowledge will open up your world to new possibilities and expand your perspective to see more ways forward. And if someone gives you a chance to learn, don’t hesitate – take it!
In short, never stop learning, never stop seeking to better yourself and never let the situation of your life ever be an excuse to hold back!
Visit FrogAsia now at http://www.frogasia.com/v3/.