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Education In An Age of Uncertainty

As the pandemic brought schools to a close with no notice of reopening, teachers lost their main avenue of connection with students.  

Parents became teachers, homes became schools. Aware of the uncertainty, we invited three professors from the University of Birmingham and two Malaysian educators to share their thoughts.  

Together with the University of Birmingham, we conducted our first-ever online Dialogue Series event – broadcasted live on Facebook on 12 June 2020. 

Our topics:

  • The Challenge of Reaching All of Our Children: Inclusion, Equality and Diversity by Professor Julie Allan 
  • Leadership in Times of Crisis by Professor Colin Diamond 
  • The Importance of Character Education for Troubled Times by Professor Kristján Kristjánson

The panel discussion was moderated by Chan Soon Seng, CEO of Teach For Malaysia, and included Puan Chee Poh Kiem, Principal of St Mary’s Secondary School Kuala Lumpur. 

Session Highlights:

  1. The Challenge of Reaching All of Our Children: Inclusion, Equality and Diversity
    • It is a fundamental right for all children to be educated together. 
    • Feeling included is not about geographical location, it is about sharing experiences together and being recognised for a valued contribution. 
    • There is a need to safeguard the mental health and well-being of children.
  2. Leadership in Times of Crisis
    • 85% of schools globally were closed during the first wave of COVID-19. 
    • It is important for leaders to develop and communicate a crisis strategy.
    • There is a need for leaders to find new ways of working with their teams to ensure well-being and productivity.
  3. The Importance of Character Education for Troubled Times  
    • Education should focus on cultivating compassion and empathy during a crisis. 
    • There is a need for social action, where individuals come together collectively to solve issues and support each other. 
    • Resilience is built when a community comes together to pull through tough times. 
  4. Panel Discussion
    • A re-evaluation of the current school system is needed, especially for exams. 
    • In times of crisis (like a pandemic), we need an education system focused on social action, cultivating empathy, outward-looking action and balancing health vs economy. 
    • Education in the 21st century requires a mind shift, the willingness to unlearn, relearn and adapt.

To find out more on the session, watch the full dialogue on our Youtube channel.

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YTL Foundation was founded in 1997 on the belief that education is the basis on which every society progresses. By improving education, empowering future generations and building tomorrow’s leaders, YTL Foundation aims to empower individuals and communities to be catalysts of change.

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