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Mental Health & Well-Being In Education

As virtual learning continued due to ongoing lockdowns, new challenges surfaced. One that required urgent dialogue was students having to learn while managing mental health outside their regular school environment. We hosted an online session on 25 June, 2021, covering some key topics:

  • Managing in a Pandemic: What Counts as Success? by Professor Julie Allan, Bethen Morris-Tran and Francesca Peruzzo
  • TrustCircle: Tracking the Social Emotional Well-Being of Students by Sachin Chaudhary  
  • Mental Health & Well-Being Among School-Going: The Malaysian Perspective by Rebecca Lin, Pamela Guneratnam and Yong Gan Chok 

The aim of the discussions was to educate the public on how to track, manage and improve the mental health of students and those in the educational sector. 

Session Highlights:

  1. The current education system, with its emphasis on examinations, performance and comparisons, is not conducive to good mental health and wellbeing.
  2. With talks of returning to ‘normal', research has shown that potential negative effects could return, particularly to minority groups or the disabled. This is because previously unaddressed issues will likely resurface – including perceptions that it is ‘normal’ for some to lack access to education materials and devices. These groups will continue to be at a disadvantage, especially if old ways of assessment and furthering studies continue.
  3. A consideration would be to rethink or reset the education system as we recover from the pandemic. Some possible changes:
    • Less emphasis on exams and assessments
    • More comprehensive curriculums
    • More inclusive and culturally relevant methods of teaching
  4. Technology has proven its importance through online education, where it acts as a channel to foster creativity, freedom and autonomy. It has also enabled students to learn from failures and mistakes in a non-competitive environment. Yet, despite its success, it has also been the downfall for some students - predominantly those without access to technology.
  5. How should we as a country move forward? These are vital to ensuring the mental health of students, teachers and communities: 
    • Work out new methods for students facing challenges accessing online learning. 
    • Move away from the narrative on getting 'back on track' and 'building back better' as it adds stress on students. 
    • Address the digital divide between the fortunate and less fortunate. 
    • Increase spending on mental health services as there is an increasing need. 
    • Response to the pandemic needs to cause less disruption to the education system. 

To find out more on the session, you may watch the full dialogue here.

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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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