SMK Kampong Jawa
How a poor school’s fortunes can be turned around
- Prize Category: Overcoming Adversity
- Format: Immersive performance
- Country: Malaysia
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and other languages to be confirmed later.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Overcoming Adversity category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
SMK Kampong Jawa, a secondary school in Klang, Malaysia, was once in the bottom two out of the thirty-eight schools in the Klang district for its academic results, but has since seen its scores improve by 20% and it was given an award for the highest online attendance during the pandemic.
In 2017, the body of a murdered woman was discovered outside SMK Kampong Jawa, a sign of how bad things had become for the school. With a student body where 75% of its pupils come from families with lower household incomes, SMK Kampong Jawa was once associated with urban poverty, poor attendance and had lost the trust of the local community. In the past, its classrooms were marked by vandalism, theft was commonplace and vulnerable students were often groomed into local gangs. When the school requested funding from sponsors to purchase better equipment in 2017, it was denied. A year later, the school’s academic results were low – just 59% of its students obtained their leaving school qualifications.
But in 632 days SMK Kampong Jawa managed to turn hardship into success. The catalyst for that change came with the appointment of a new principal in August 2020 who helped redirect the school policies to align with his vision for change. Under his helm, SMK Kampong Jawa embarked on an intensive data-driven approach to attendance and made over 500 phone calls to parents to learn more about students and their home environments. For those that still didn’t attend class, school counsellors would make home visits themselves.
With its intensive research underway, SMK Kampong Jawa designed online classes that experimented with breakout rooms and collaborative learning structures that offered close peer-to-peer support and ensured small group sessions were productive and engaging. Online attendance and academic results started to improve. The school also focused on the challenges some of its students were facing and began networking with local charities to help those who were struggling financially. In one case, SMK Kampong Jawa was able to help a student’s family move to a better home. The school looks to continue to provide face-to-face and virtual lessons in its classrooms as the pandemic continues.
Join us for an interesting session showcasing how focusing on a student’s home life can change their future.
Moderator: Malini Devi A/P Thilainathan
Malani Devi Thilainathan is an English Language teacher with 14 years’ of experience working with students in lower and upper secondary, along with being a Middle Leader since 2017 under the Trust School programme in SMK Kampong Jawa, Klang, Selangor. She has completed her Master Degree in Education Management and Bachelor Degree in English Language Studies. She has also received the Excellent Service Award from the Ministry of Education in the year 2019. Her passion towards engaging students on all levels has never stopped her from enhancing their social experiences by encouraging group lessons and learning.
Speaker 1: Iam Nurlin Binti Ibrahim
Born on the 9th of March 1973, Penang, Malaysia. Former high school was St George”s Girls School, Penang. Had always inspired to become a teacher and graduated from University Kebangsaan Malaysia with Bachelor of Education Honours TESL in 1997. Had teaching experiences of 25 years; teaching English, Arts and Physical Education. Joined the Klang District Teachers Debate team and was the best speaker for the preliminary round. Possess the passion for sharing best practices and had guided trainee teachers in embracing reflective teaching, as the key to enganging lessons. Led the World’s Best School Prize in Overcoming Adversity via the project PROUD AND LOUD with SMK KAMPONG JAWA (TRUST SCHOOL), Klang, Selangor.