Working with another partner, Trinity Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, ECM Libra Foundation sponsored the volunteers from this organization to teach the children from this remote village in the interior of Sarawak, helping them to prepare for their UPSR examinations.
Long Lamai is probably the earliest Penan settlement in Sarawak with a 50+ year history with a primary school next to the village. The village is accessible by a 90 minute flight from Miri to Long Banga followed by a 60 minute boat ride. Historically, many of the children do not survive the educational process due to lack of facilities and proper educational support. Up to date, there is only one university graduate from the village.
All these years, the school’s UPSR performance has been dismal with most years registering a 0% pass. The teachers blame it on the children’s families for distracting the students and not encouraging them to study. However, the village elders blame it on the system, for the students are being taught 30% of the syllabus only. The situation was highlighted to a visiting team from Peninsula Malaysia organized by the Board of Youth Work of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) of the Methodist Church in Malaysia in 2010. The TRAC team started with 4 young people (college students on semester break) who volunteered to go into Long Lamai in July/August 2011 for a period of 4 weeks to help coach the UPSR students in the various subjects. In spite of only 4-weeks of coaching, the volunteers and the student’s parents noticed significant changes in their academic performance. Mr. Garen, the PIBG Chairman was so impressed by the observable significant changes that he requested a 2-month intervention stint for 2012. The Village Headman, Mr. Wilson also requested that we return to help them without even knowing the UPSR results then. When the UPSR results were finally released, for the first time in their history the school registered a 25% pass.
For 2012, the Foundation sponsored 8 volunteers who were divided into two groups who spent a total of two months with the children preparing for UPSR. When the UPSR results were released, the school managed to obtain a 50% full passes in UPSR.
The volunteers are very creative and innovative in their teaching methods and very efficacious judging from the results of 50% full passes.
Click here to read the volunteers’ blog of their adventures with the children at the village.