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11 Organisations Improving (Various) Literacy In Malaysia

Lacking essential literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of life. As a child they won’t be able to excel at school, as an adult, they won’t be able to climb the corporate ladder, as a parent, they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility a lot more difficult. 

Source: note thanun on Unsplash

Individuals with low literacy skills may not be able to read or write and as a result, their understanding of the world is limited. However, in this fast-paced world, literacy is not confined to just the ability to read or write. It includes the ability to calculate and make sense of life and society thereby including digital literacy, health literacy and financial literacy. 

Changemakers all over Malaysia are working towards increasing literacy levels in the said areas. Let’s explore the good work they are doing and if you feel drawn to supporting their efforts, contact them directly to find out more. 

Changemakers Improving Financial Literacy 

Financial illiteracy is the lack of knowledge and ability to manage money[1]. Financial illiteracy affects people of any age and socioeconomic level, and it can contribute to bad financial decisions that have negative effects on an individual’s overall well-being. It can lead to predatory lending, bad loans, embezzlement, and hefty interest rates, resulting in negative credit or bankruptcy for many people. Financial illiteracy can result in significant debt and poor financial decisions[2].

#1: Malaysian Literacy In Financial Education Association (MyLIFE)

The Inaugural Malaysia Financial Literacy Conference 2019. Source: MyLIFE Association

MyLIFE, or Malaysian Literacy in Financial Education Association, was created in 2019 by a team of like-minded experts who took ownership and took decisive action to start an approach to enhance Malaysians’ financial literacy through education[3]. A lot of programs are conducted in achieving the goals such as writing competitions, webinars and video contests. 

If you are joining as associate members or students (tertiary education), you will get daily motivational quotes through Facebook, WhatsApp and email, Money Compass weekly newsletter and free books on financial topics. These features are available even if you are a free subscriber[3]

More on MyLIFE.

#2: uLearnMoney

The Money Compass Media group’s uLearnMoney initiative seeks to improve the financial literacy of all Malaysian users, particularly young individuals, through ongoing education, consulting, and advising tools. Its objectives are in line with the government’s National Financial Literacy Strategy, which runs from 2019 to 2023. uLearnMONEY was formed on June 28, 2019, and has already partnered with over 36 high schools to reach out to their students. Its Learning Management System platform has provided online financial education consistently and effectively to the users[4].

More on ULearnMoney

#3: My Money & Me

It is a financial planning workshop organised by the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC) that began in 2007 and has influenced 30,000 students through seminars held at 85 different universities, as well as 20,000 others who attended their public workshops. The workshop’s goal is to raise public awareness and provide information on the value and necessity of financial planning and the services of a financial planner or adviser to the general public and youngsters[5]

More on My Money & Me

Source: Virtual My Money & Me

Changemakers Improving Digital Literacy 

One of the most common forms of illiteracy is digital literacy. This is a common problem for many people, as keeping up with the rate of technological development has proven practically impossible. As a result, many people find it difficult to build confidence and faith in their computer skills. In today’s digital world, almost every employment requires some type of digital communication, thus teaching people how to quickly and responsibly access, evaluate, discuss, and disseminate online content is crucial to their future success. Given its relevance in both personal and professional settings, some predict that IT illiteracy will become as serious an issue for people as illiteracy in general[2].

Source: Go Digital ASEAN

#1: SOLS 24/7

SOLS 24/7 is a non-profit organisation devoted to alleviating poverty in Malaysia. They have two initiatives aimed at improving digital literacy. In their past programme, SOLS Tech had gathered, repurposes, and distributes electronic equipment that have been abandoned. It restored broken devices and gave them to those in need. In Malaysia, over ten million people do not have access to a computer. Computer literacy abilities and computer ownership, according to SOLS 24/7, will increase economic prospects and aid to reduce poverty[6]. SOLS Smart is an active programme to help improve English among the government ministries, agencies, private and public corporations, as well as universities and schools and it also has a digital literacy component to it. To date, they have trained over 450,000 people in 7 countries since 20 years ago[7].

More on SOLS Tech and SOLS Smart.

#2: Go Digital ASEAN

In Malaysia, the Go Digital ASEAN initiative aims to equip 15,000 youths with digital literacy skills to help them expand their enterprises and gain access to new markets. International Youth Centre (IYC) and StartupMalaysia are implementing the programme in Malaysia. Participants will have unlimited access to the lessons and materials after they have joined the programme[8].

More on Go Digital ASEAN.

Changemakers Improving Reading Literacy 

The inability to read or write is generally what people term illiteracy. From history, we learned that many people in past generations suffered from illiteracy, even those from prominent backgrounds. Over time, the ability to read and write gave people the ticket to advance in life and build better futures. Here are some organisations changing the course of people’s futures through education. 

Source: MYReaders

#1: MYReaders

In collaboration with school leaders, teachers, community leaders, volunteers, and students, MYReaders provides structured and sustainable reading programmes to schools and communities. MYReaders has influenced over 31,647 children, 92 parents, 777 teachers, and 780 volunteers around the country since 2015. Its literacy toolkit, one of the country’s first in-house English products, has been evaluated and proven to help students improve their reading skills in a year. They provide early literacy development and reading proficiency skills training to teachers and student mentors. They also personalise modules to meet the demands of schools in order to help kids improve their reading skills[9].

More on MYReaders.

#2: Right to Learn (RTL)

Right to Learn (RTL) is a literacy initiative that helps children succeed in school and in life. Over 300 children’s reading skills have been improved as a result of this community outreach, which relies on volunteer service. Their Skype programme is their most noteworthy offering. 

Volunteers with a laptop and Internet access read to students through Skype in English and Bahasa Malaysia. They also organise plays and skits on occasion to encourage children to develop their language skills[10].

More on Right to Learn.

#3: Empowered2Teach Pre-School Project

The Empowered2Teach Pre-School Project works to alleviate illiteracy by encouraging indigenous communities to develop their own pre-school programmes. They do it by educating and equipping local teachers who have been recommended by their village leaders for their strong commitment to children’s education. Teachers are provided with training and materials to assist them in starting their own pre-school classes. It is hoped that by providing teachers with a central role in education in their home villages, indigenous young children will be adequately prepared for primary school and will have the essential foundation to pursue a formal education[11].

More on Empowered2Teach.

#4: IDEAS Autism Centre (IAC)

No child, especially those with learning disabilities, should be left behind. In dealing with these students, the IDEAS Autism Centre, or IAC, takes a tailored approach and uses several treatments and strategies. IAC has developed its own curriculum, which incorporates ABA, TEACCH, Son-Rise, and the STAR Program into the national curriculum. Attendance, listening, language, communication, pre-academic, academic, self-help, interpersonal, and play skills are all taught as part of the curriculum, which focuses on these special children’s progress. IAC provides one-on-one sessions to design a behaviour intervention approach for each kid[12].

Click IDEAS Autism Centre.

Source: IDEAS Autism Centre, Speech Therapy, Child Behaviour Consultant

Changemakers Improving Health Literacy 

Health literacy is crucial for everyone since it can help us prevent health problems and protect our health, as well as better manage those problems and unexpected situations that happen. We will have a health literacy problem when organisations or individuals develop and deliver health information that is too complex for others to interpret. We cause a health literacy problem when we ask people to figure out health services through a series of unexpected, unclear, or even contradictory actions[13].

#1: BioMark

BioMark is working on digital goods to improve people’s health literacy, both individually and as a group. It attempts to empower citizens, customers, and patients through improved health literacy so that they can make better health decisions. BioMark’s health literacy initiative aims to democratise health care systems and improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities around the world as a result of the process. For individuals, you can use the BioMark App to help you make sense of your medical data by scanning your medical reports to be interpreted by the app and understanding your risk of developing chronic diseases[14].

Click BioMark.

#2: DoctorOnCall

DoctorOnCall connects the patients with Malaysia’s best doctors and other healthcare providers quickly, easily, and affordably. Patients can get Medical Video consultations with medical and mental health professionals at any time and from any location using their smartphone or computer. DoctorOnCall believes that the future of healthcare is digital, and by collaborating with medical and mental health practitioners, the organisation aims to provide affordable and accessible medical consultation and service to all. The cost per teleconsult is at RM19.99, a reasonable cost even for the B40s[15].

Click here to find out more about DoctorOnCall. 

Source: DoctorOnCall

Explore Our Sources:

  1. The Forms of Illiteracy; All 20 Types of Illiteracy! (2021, August 2). Scientific Editing. Link.  
  2. Red Star Education. (0). The Effects of Financial Illiteracy – Red Star Education Blog. Link.
  3. Malaysia Literacy in Financial Education Association website. Link
  4. moneycompass. (2021, March 29). Introducing uLearnMONEY, the First-of-its-kind Online Financial Literacy Platform. Link
  5. Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC). (2021, August 30). Financial Literacy Programme “My Money & Me.” Malaysian Financial Planning Council. Link
  6. Project, B. (2019, October 12). SOLS 24/7 Promotes Technology and Education in Malaysia. The Borgen Project. Link
  7. SOLS smart. (2020, March 16). SOLS smart – Business Communication Training HRDF-Claimable. Link.
  8. GIZWIZ STUDIO. (2021). Go Digital ASEAN – Malaysia. Go Digital ASEAN Malaysia. Link
  9. MYReaders website. Link
  10. Tan, A. (2021). 7 Non-Profits Actively Combating illiteracy Among Kids In Malaysia. Jireh’s Hope. Link
  11.  Empowered 2 Teach website. Link
  12.  IDEAS Autism Centre website. Link
  13.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021, March 29). The What, Why, and How of Health Literacy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link.
  14.  BioMark website. Link
  15.  DoctorOnCall website. Link

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