Leave no kid behind: Malaysian entrepreneur uses technology to help students get a balanced education (VIDEO)

Classruum founder Sophia Khan aims at bridging the socioeconomic gap in the country through education. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Classruum founder Sophia Khan aims at bridging the socioeconomic gap in the country through education. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — For many, education may just be a learning experience to bring about a permanent change in their thinking and capacity to do things.

But a young Ipoh-born entrepreneur, Sophia Khan, believes that education is the key to bridging the socioeconomic gap between the rich and the poor in Malaysia.

The 28-year-old believes that anyone who has access to education would eventually have a better chance in life.

“It shouldn’t matter whether you come from a wealthy family or a particular race to deserve a quality education,” she said.

To break the barrier and go beyond the walls of schools and academic institutions, Sophia together with her then business partner established an e-learning platform four years ago with an aim to provide affordable quality online courses to schoolchildren.

Aptly called Classruum, the e-learning platform provides online lessons, including video tutorials, notes, trial examination, and gamification along with other features.

The platform consists of subjects for students sitting for their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), Form 1, Form Three Assessment 3, Form 5 and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

Sophia said all the lessons were in compliance with the Education Ministry’s syllabus and are taught by a selected group of quality Malaysian teachers and tutors.

“Our approach is very structured to offer a comprehensive online education.

“From subjects, it’s broken down to lessons, chapters and summaries for each topic,” she said.

With 15 teachers on board, Sophia said Classruum team was constantly producing video lessons and tutorials based on school textbooks.

“The teachers incorporate a lot of fun and humour in each session to make the videos more attractive and entertaining for the pupils,” said Sophia, who is Classruum Technologies Sdn Bhd executive director.

She also noted that there was no other platform in Malaysia that offered video tutorials in such a systematic and structured way.

“The platform not only allows students to improve their education remotely but also gives them unprecedented access to a broad range of archived videos at any time.”

How does it work?

To sign up, parents or students can subscribe for either annually or monthly access which costs between RM8 and RM15 monthly.

Classruum has also recently inked a partnership with Digi Telecommunications as their telco partner which allows users to pay the subscription fee together with their phone bill.

Once you are logged into Classruum, Sophia said students can view each of the subjects they are subscribed to, and there will be a progress tracker to monitor their development.

The user dashboard, which is similar to Facebook, also comes with a chat feature where students can engage with other students.

Additionally, it also has a live stream feature where teachers could do a live teaching session with a group of students.

Each lesson then comes with a summary and consists of objective practice questions to help students assess themselves after each lesson.

There is also an online test (with a set time limit) for each topic to keep the students’ progress in check.

“It’s a good way for parents to monitor their child’s progress and have a better understanding of which subjects they are weakened or strong.”

The e-learning platform also has a challenge feature where students can challenge their friends for any subjects.

The platform, which is now mostly owned by Johor Corporation (JCorp), also collaborates closely with Johor state government and has adopted several schools under their support.

One of the video tutorials by a qualified teacher on Classruum. — Screengrab courtesy of Classroom
One of the video tutorials by a qualified teacher on Classruum. — Screengrab courtesy of Classroom

In its quest to reach out to more rural communities, Sophia said they have also introduced their system to underprivileged students to get them to familiarise with computers and online education.

Technology and education

According to Sophia, the e-learning industry is progressing in an unprecedented rate by revolutionising the scope for learning and online teaching.

In Malaysia, although there has been much emphasis on implementing e-learning at public schools, Sophia said there are still many challenges to overcome.

To further implement e-learning in the country, she said there is a need for modern infrastructure including computer labs and better internet connectivity at schools in both urban and rural areas.

Comparing Malaysia with more developed countries such as Singapore and Australia, Sophia said those countries have set up modern computer labs with high-speed internet connectivity and incorporating software such as google classroom.

Moving forward

Apart from Classrumm, Sophia said they are currently working on a pre-school education mobile application called “Classruum Playlabs”.

The app, which is expected to be launched later this year, is designed for small children aged between four and six years old to educate them about colours, numbers and alphabets.

She also hinted that they have developed a new platform called Brain Box which focuses on skill-based education such as cooking, gardening, sewing, carpentry and foreign languages.

The platform is slated to be launched by mid this year.

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