#UntukMalaysia campaign calls for sponsors, volunteers to help ‘lost generation’ of students affected by MCO (VIDEO)

A student attends an online class from home during movement control order (MCO) in Petaling Jaya on January 26, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A student attends an online class from home during movement control order (MCO) in Petaling Jaya on January 26, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Education advocacy movement #UntukMalaysia has yesterday called for potential sponsors and volunteers for its programme to help the so-called “lost generation” of students affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sponsorship programme is designed to provide intervention by the way of targeted tutoring for Standard 1 to Standard 6 primary school students who are having difficulty with 3M (Membaca, Menulis, Mengira) skills — to read, write and count.

“The situation has worsened after the pandemic hit. Schools are closed, students who should have started learning 3M did not get a conducive learning environment, that could have supported and guided them,” said former education minister Maszlee Malik, who spearheads the initiative, in a brief statement.

Maszlee said the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) has warned that the number of drop-outs may increase six-fold, and continue to rise as long as schooling does not return to some semblance of normalcy.

“If this is not being handled now, this country will see a ‘lost generation’ of those who dropped out from education and this will severely ruin our education system,” he added.

Sponsors under the #SelamatkanMuridCicir initiative (Malay for “save the lost generation”) can opt to fund one day of education at RM8 per day, RM42 per week, or RM240 per month.

The targeted intervention is designed with a tutor — called “change makers” — who will be in charge of two students within their respective localities, with two separate sessions conducted weekly. The program is scheduled to last from February to November of this year.

#UntukMalaysia is also calling for volunteers among its movement to be the “change makers”.

The organisation had on January 23 launched an online form for the public to report students deemed to belong to the “lost generation”. It said it has so far received over 1,000 reports in the space of 72 hours.

Those who are interested in sponsoring these programs can do so here while those who have information on the “lost generation” can submit their information here.

#UntukMalaysia was launched by former education minister Maszlee Malik in November last year with the aim of resolving learning problems faced by students nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country.

On many occasions and even in Parliament, Maszlee raised attention to the dangers of the “lost generation” of students, including those facing difficulty in pursuing their studies due to an array of complication throughout the pandemic.

While many facets of education have primarily moved online, Maszlee had pointed out that nearly 40 per cent of students across the country do not have access to the internet and electronic devices that would enable them to study effectively.

This comes as Malaysian students have lost over 190 days of normal schooling days since the movement control order (MCO) was called into effect in March 2020.