I am a Malaysian and a global citizen who has lived outside Malaysia for over ten years. Despite my life experiences in Hungary, Brazil and currently in the United States, I am a firm believer in the saying “Hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik di negeri sendiri.”
Like my other fellow Malaysians, I am deeply concerned with the need to increase access to quality education in Malaysia. Even though we are spending a significant percentage of our annual GDP on education, the achievement gap between the haves and the have-nots stands in the way of us achieving our true socio-economic potential.
I have observed first-hand the limited resources available in schools in rural Terengganu and Pahang, where my parents are from, compared to the many Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi and Sekolah Berasrama Penuh that dot the Klang Valley region. Above all, I realised that so many young Malaysians do rely solely on education to escape poverty, or their particular economic circumstances.
I believe that it is a matter of social justice that high-need schools and Malaysian children of all racial and religious backgrounds be given the opportunity to attain an excellent education, chiefly because education is the stepping stone in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. One of the attributes to an excellent education is the quality of the teacher’s interaction with his or her students, and this is something that I aim for as a future Fellow.
I hope to be able to finely balance the in-class requirements of being an effective teacher and finding that emotional connection with my students, as well as the need to accomplish big, concrete goals as a Fellow. Teach for Malaysia is a golden opportunity for me to achieve this potential, as well as to contribute to the larger project of alleviating education inequity that is affecting our children in Malaysia.