Taylor’s College and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kuala Krau are spearheading initiatives to help special needs students within the school gain comprehensive digital skills through the development of SMK Kuala Krau’s Studio Multimedia Program Pendidikan Khas Integrasi (PPKI).
The first-of-its-kind multimedia studio in public schools in Malaysia aims to provide SMK Kuala Krau students – which consists of orang asli and special needs pupils – with modules and programmes to help them learn technical digital skills like content creation, video editing and other IT- and technology-related knowledge.
Digital literacy and skills are becoming more essential as technology has evolved society’s way of life. Students currently in schools will know a predominantly digital economy in their lifetime.
However, Cikgu Mohammad Hazeem Azemi, a special needs teacher in SMK Kuala Krau and the RISE Educator of the Year winner for the RISE Educator Award organised by Taylor’s College and its student engagement arm, The Risers, noticed that there is a digital divide between urban and rural areas, especially for individuals with disabilities as they do not have equal opportunity to technology, resulting in very little experience in using such tools.
“As the digital economy continues to shape society, it is important for students to develop an arsenal of digital skills in school to prepare for the future. Upon their graduation from high school, students today will live in a world where technology is the pinnacle of the way we live, study and work. In my experience as a special needs teacher in a rural area, however, we observed how the digital knowledge divide is affecting the experiences and opportunities between urban and rural students – especially so if they are students with special needs. Their knowledge and experience in the digital space is not as comprehensive compared to their urban-city peers.”
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cikgu Hazeem saw the struggles of his students as he conducted online classes. To keep his students motivated and engaged in classes, he began to interest the students with digital content from social media platforms as a medium for their learning resources. This has deepened his students’ curiosity and will to develop their knowledge about the multimedia industry.
“As a teacher, I am always looking for ways to improve my students’ learning experience. At the end of the movement control order (MCO), I found a new purpose – to build a multimedia studio for the students to help them develop their skills in the digital arena,” he continued.
With the winning of RM10,000 in sponsorship from the RISE Educator Award earlier this year, Cikgu Hazeem further enhanced the multimedia studio with added facilities such as PC computers, green screens and more so that his students can hone their IT skills and experience the types of equipment and devices like photo and video editing software, broadcasting tools, and virtual gaming.
According to Tuan Hj Mat Jusoh bin Che Ngah, the headmaster of SMK Kuala Krau, the multimedia studio will be able to cater beyond just academic knowledge and develop hands-on digital skills, which are now essential to chart a career path. “We are grateful to Taylor’s College for their support of Cikgu Hazeem’s vision of a multimedia studio for the orang asli and special needs students. They have continued to show their support by sponsoring 15 tablets and 50 content creator starter kits for the students in SMK Kuala Krau to be used in the multimedia studio.”
Students who complete the courses offered by the school through Studio Multimedia PPKI will also be given a ‘Sijil Kemahiran Tahap 3’ which the students can use to apply for jobs.
Josephine Tan, Taylor’s College Campus Director said, “With the right support, we believe that anybody can be given equal opportunities to learn. Hence, we are happy to support Cikgu Hazeem and SMK Kuala Krau in their endeavours to provide access to quality education for all their students. Such effort is also aligned with the Institution’s vision to be a purpose-led institution – especially in our commitment in making meaningful impact to solving societal issues in the subject of quality education for all as outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).”
RISE Educator Award was launched in 2021 to give appreciation and recognition to exceptional educators that have contributed greatly to their students’ education and social development in Malaysia. For more information on the RISE Educator Award, please visit here.
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