By Prakash Velloo
Universiti Sains Malaysia, in collaboration with Han Chiang College and Padang Terap District Education Office, organised a laboratory on Transforming Siamese Community by creating awareness of the importance of higher education on 3 October 2017 at Dewan Gemilang, Insitut Kemahiran Belia Negara in Naka, Kedah.
The programme was aimed to motivate and enlighten Form 4,5 and 6 students in the district of Padang Terap on the need to pursue tertiary education and guidance on the entry, requirements and preparatory systems in furthering higher education.
During the laboratory, the students were reminded that continuing to higher education is an investment that can enhance the ability of the Siamese youth community to compete for better career and income opportunities, as well as compete in the increasingly challenging 21st century employment ecosystem.
Although various initiatives have been undertaken by the government to enhance student enrollment from the Siamese community in IPTs (Private IPTs, public universities, TVET institutions, other ministries), they are more likely to explore employment opportunities rather than looking for opportunities to pursue higher education after graduating from school.
Mentor-mentor sessions were also included in the programme where participants were put into small groups which focussed on sharing experiences and motivational guidance through effective two-way communication between the facilitators and students.
The laboratory was officiated by Datin Hajah Azuyah binti Hassan, Director of Kedah Education Department. In her closing speech, she mentioned, “the Siamese community have been living together with other races in harmony for a very long time and equally contribute to the development of the country”.
“It is the right time that Siamese students are given the motivation and guidance towards the path that can lead them to tertiary education and many thanks go to Universiti Sains Malaysia and Han Chiang College for organising this excellent programme”, she added.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Network) of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Mohamed, who was also present in the closing ceremony, said, “the program is divided into two main phases where today’s activity is the process of sharing and transferring knowledge by the higher education community to the target community while the second phase is a monitoring and evaluation stage to measure the effectiveness of the program implementation”.
“The organizers are hopeful that this program will contribute to the development of government policies and initiatives in transforming socio-economic to ‘bottom billion’ or ‘bottom-class’, especially involving minority communities in Malaysia”, he added.
He also congratulated all the committee members and other parties involved either directly or indirectly for the success of this laboratory.
The laboratory above was also supported and partly sponsored by the Parliamentary Office of Dato’ Seri Mahdzir bin Khalid who is also the Minister of Education.
All the six secondary schools in the district of Padang Terap, SMK Naka, SMK Lubuk Merbau, SMK Padang Terap, SMK Pedu, SMK Dato Syed Ahmad and SMK Kuala Nerang participated in the laboratory which was attended by 144 students.