Why I Teach For Malaysia: Kugahn’s Story

Kugahnaesen   Manogaran is currently serving as a Teach For Malaysia Fellow in a school in Selangor. Read how his thirst for giving back to the society that has given him so much was the driving force in his journey to joining the Fellowship of 2012. 


Why should addressing the problem of education inequity be left solely to the government when every one of us tends to benefit from a more equitable education environment? In fact, many of us, including myself, have been guilty of criticising our local facilities whenever they are not up to par with those of our more developed counterparts. However, have we ever asked ourselves, how we can contribute towards Malaysia’s development? Well, when this question was posed to me, I felt and still feel that helping underprivileged children in their academic journey was a contribution that was very much within my capabilities.

Unfortunately, doing so meant choosing a career in teaching, which I was just not willing to do, as my passion for economic research on the financial markets was far too strong. Being a product of the Malaysian public education system myself, I feel that the inequity problem that we face is due to a lack of human capital resources as opposed to a flawed system.

Now, with Teach For Malaysia’s initiatives, I am provided with an avenue to repay a society that has given me so much, including the opportunity to pursue my tertiary education at UCL in London. As a fellow, my main goal is that one day, the students who have benefitted from this initiative will themselves be able to become academic role models  as well as potential Fellows. This will create a natural cycle that is geared towards a long run solution that addresses education inequity.

On a personal level, I would like to use this opportunity to meet and network with like-minded people: those who are passionate towards overcoming the education inequity in Malaysia. It would also be an excellent opportunity for more holistic character development the kind that cannot be obtained from academic materials. Moreover, the fact that I can use two years of my bond with the government during this initiative acts as a further motivator as I am able to contribute towards the betterment of society while fulfilling an obligation at the same time.

On a concluding note, I would like to say that after seeing the success of Teach For Malaysia’s international counterparts, such as Teach for America which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, too hope that I can play a role in fighting education inequity.