Youngsters know best

December, 2020

Winning duo: Lam (top left) and Han (top right) pose for a photo together with Mah (bottom left) and Isaiah (bottom right) after the virtual awards ceremony.


EXPERTS are not the only ones who know best.

Sometimes, students know better especially if they are the ones who are facing the problem.

This was the basis of the Young Educators Challenge (YEC) which saw secondary school students pitch and showcase their ideas to improve the online learning experience.

The winning team of the national competition had planned an effective time management lesson so that they could gain more from their online lessons.

The team of two from SMJK Katholik, Selangor, knew that time management was key to accomplishing anything.

Form Five student Lam Xian Jun and Han Yao said they had to strategise and plan their project carefully after their third team member suddenly dropped out.

All the other teams in the competition had three members.

“We needed to plan something that was engaging but at the same time still manageable for the two of us to do, ” said Lam after the virtual award presentation ceremony on Dec 13.

Han said they joined the competition as they wanted to create more innovative and better online learning sessions.

“Our aim initially was to create a better platform for everyone because as students we understood the challenges of suddenly switching from a physical classroom to an online classroom, ” she added.

The competition, which began with a two-day bootcamp in November, had concluded with the Young Educators Challenge Weekend.

During the weekend, the competitors demonstrated their ideal online learning space to a live audience whom they had recruited.

A total of 22 online lessons were delivered over two days with some 500 participants joining the virtual sessions.

Xian Jun and Yao had beaten 66 other students to win the first prize of RM2,000 and full-scholarships which range from RM16,000 to RM387,200 depending on the course chosen.

Second place went to Kolej Yayasan Saad Melaka Form Four students Caelystar Valentina Ng May Zher, Wan Khairun Sofea Wan Khairul Anuar and Arianna Saiful, while third place went to Kolej Genius@Pintar Negara Form Four students Siti Khadijah Sultan, Idlan Zafran Mohd Zaidie and Muhammad Adib Rusyaidi Mohd Azilan.

The second and third place team members won RM1,500 cash and partial-scholarships worth RM15,000 each, and RM1,000 cash and partial-scholarships worth RM10,000 each, respectively.

All scholarships were sponsored by Sunway College.

During the virtual award ceremony, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon advised the participants to leverage on their own experiences as students who faced the struggles of online learning to come up with innovative ways of improving how things are done.

“Find the unique solutions that only you, as a student, can see, ” he said.

He added that now more than ever, we need to adapt and innovate in order to overcome the obstacles we face, especially in online learning.

The competition was hosted by Project ID in collaboration with ECM Libra Foundation, and supported by the Education Ministry.

All the ideas presented over the weekend were good and participants would get the chance to showcase their lessons online through PID Online, Project ID’s free online learning platform for secondary school students, said Project ID co-founder Kelvin Tan.

Instead of dictating what needs to be done, adults all over the world should listen more to the youth in addressing issues that affect them, said Global Teacher Prize 2020 Top 10 finalist Samuel Isaiah.

“More autonomy and trust must be given to young brilliant minds.

“I’ve seen some great ideas emerge throughout the competition, ” said Samuel, who was one of the YEC mentors.

Separately, Mah revealed that he had written a song to pay tribute to teachers, particularly those who had taught him.

“I will be releasing a song dedicated to the nation’s educators.

“I have written the lyrics and turned it into a song in Mandarin and also Bahasa Malaysia as part of my contribution and tribute to my teachers and to all the teachers out there, ” he said, adding that educators are an integral part of our nation building.