CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE

The Yayasan AMIR Trust Schools Programme was conceived as a long-term commitment to improve accessibility to quality education in public schools, through a Public-Private Partnership with the Ministry of Education Malaysia.

At its launch in December 2010, ten schools, five in Johor and five in Sarawak, were selected to form the First Cohort of Trust Schools (First Cohort). They were chosen to provide a good representation of Malaysian schools; comprising both Primary and Secondary, vernacular and multi-racial schools, and located in urban as well as rural areas.

Trust Schools operate through the provision of regular Government funding and resources. In addition, they employ five-year strategic Trust School Roadmaps and annual Trust School Improvement Plans 

that were introduced at each of the schools and overseen by Yayasan AMIR. The Yayasan AMIR Trust Schools Programme was conceived as a long-term commitment to improve accessibility to quality education in public schools, through a Public-Private Partnership with the Ministry of Education Malaysia.

At its launch in December 2010, ten schools, five in Johor and five in Sarawak, were selected to form the First Cohort of Trust Schools (First Cohort). They were chosen to provide a good representation of Malaysian schools; comprising both Primary and Secondary, vernacular and multi-racial schools, and located in urban as well as rural areas.

Trust Schools operate through the provision of regular Government funding and resources. In addition, they employ five-year strategic Trust School Roadmaps and annual Trust School Improvement Plans that were introduced at each of the schools and overseen by Yayasan AMIR.

Yayasan AMIR has engaged LeapEd Services Sdn Bhd (LeapEd), a Malaysian education service provider, to develop content, and assign dedicated Teaching and Learning Advisors (TLAs) for the schools. The TLAs act as coaches and mentors for the teachers and Senior Leadership Teams (SLTs) of the Trust Schools, helping them execute their strategic plans in the pursuit of attaining holistic student outcomes. A priority at the Trust Schools is to provide a rich and engaging learning environment, so that students can fulfil their personal and scholastic potential.

In striving to provide children with high-quality education, a welcome spin-off from the Trust Schools Programme is the enrichment of the teaching professionals who make it all possible. During the initial stages, emphasis is given to structured professional development. Teachers attend TeachSmart to enhance key competencies while School Leaders, in addition to TeachSmart, attend LeadEd to hone their knowledge and skills as leaders of learning, and administrators of learning organisations.

This approach has been adopted to ensure that the fundamentals of these institutions are suitably strengthened to embark upon and sustain school-wide transformation. Needless to say, change is not easy to implement. Therefore, stakeholder engagement and understanding is crucial to gain buy-in and support. Support is needed to ensure that the Trust Schools Programme is adopted. But perhaps more importantly, it is needed to ensure that the schools can institutionalise desired change and continue on their heightened paths in the years to come.

This explains the importance placed on replicable and sustainable transformation in the Trust Schools as too often, good ideas may be introduced but implementation fades over time. To this end, the ownership of the schools’ participation, development and achievement targets reside with the Principals and Head Teachers. Another measure that has been introduced is the role of Advisory Teachers, who understudy the TLAs so that there can be key resource persons within the schools even beyond the five-year programme.

We have now entered the second year of a five-year engagement with the schools, and positive changes have started to take root.

It was important from early on that we recognise and respect the fact that each school faced individual circumstances that resulted in different priorities. This then was certainly not a case of applying a ‘one size fits all’ solution. In this, we were fortunate to still be united by a common vision to deliver an ever-higher quality of education for all students.

While all parties have a role to play in the Trust Schools Programme, the stars of the change these schools are beginning to see must surely be the teachers themselves. With strong leadership and high levels of commitment, these teachers are fast dispelling stereotypes of limitations in our schools. Instead they have started to prove just how lively and productive learning can be in any Malaysian school. Time, God willing, will show that this translates to more capable and successful individuals.

Yayasan AMIR is grateful to Khazanah Nasional Berhad for making the Trust Schools Programme possible through its support.

It is our sincere hope that the transformation planned for these First Cohort schools will not only accelerate to fruition, but that their successes will trigger wider support for, and adoption of the Trust Schools Programme. The beneficiaries are after all, the future generation of Malaysians.

RAJA TAN SRI DATO’ SERI ARSHAD BIN RAJA TUN UDA 

CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES