In a community just outside Kuching, Sarawak, students listen attentively in a brightly lit classroom as a teacher conducts an English class on how to write compelling stories. The students interact by raising hands and answering the teacher, sometimes individually, sometimes in unison.
But the teacher isn’t there. Physically, at least. Instead, the class is being streamed from Kuala Lumpur, through video cameras and audio equipment. This was the scene at Pusat Internet Kampung Quop, where eKelas – an after-school digital learning initiative by Maxis – was being conducted. The Pusat Internet Kampung Quop has been running its eKelas programme since January this year.
In conjunction with Teachers’ Day on 16 May, eKelas was showcased to the Kampung Quop community, which comprised of Kampung Quop head Mr Maxwell Anak Juel; Headmistress from nearby school SK St James, Puan Evelyn Balai Anak Wah Onn together with its teachers; Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Sarawak Assistant Director Puan Zazarina Drahman; as well as the students’ parents.
During the event, Maxis paid tribute to the teachers by organising a lunch for them and community members. In his address, Maxis Head of Sarawak region, Alex Bong commended the teachers for their dedication and commitment to education, and also highlighted the significance of eKelas.
“What we have seen in Kampung Quop today is a clear example of what the power of technology can do for education, especially in under-served locations. With eKelas, students in multiple locations will have direct access to the same experienced teachers, live tutorials and the opportunity to participate in competitions, motivational talks and holiday camps. It’s a fun way to learn and it’s free to sign up for everyone. We are really pleased to see the active participation in eKelas in this Pusat Internet, and we thank all the teachers for the critical role that they have played in this programme,” he said.
At the event, the community got to see a live tutorial for Mathematics and English, while students showcased how the eKelas portal had helped with their learning. There was also a demo on a new feature of eKelas currently being trialed – eCikgu.
Maxis eKelas is an after-school digital learning initiative that aims to improve the academic performance of students in rural and urban communities. Its focus is on three subjects - Science, Mathematics and English - for Form 1, 2 and 3 students. eKelas offers a combination of live tutorials, group learning and interactive digital content which is in line with the Malaysian School Syllabus. The programme is delivered at Pusat Internet, which are MCMC-run Internet Centres that serve as digital hubs for communities in underserved areas. Since its launch, eKelas currently has more than 4,000 students in terms of class population as well as those interacting within the eKelas portal.