Reviving Brick In The Wall: Join Us – Bring Alternative Education To Malaysia

If you are interested in youth and alternative education; if you feel that the Malaysian education system needs changes; if you want to make a difference; if you are resourceful, dedicated, imaginative, creative, diligent – Brick In The Wall needs you.

Brick In The Wall was a project I started in 2005 to promote alternative education in Malaysia. It was meant to be a non-profit that organized various programs and facilities to provide educational opportunities to Malaysian youth. Amongst the planned projects included (but were not limited to):

  • A resource centre, with a library, computing services, education counselling, creative spaces, meeting spaces, and lots more
  • “Support Me”, a sponsorship program whereby young people put up their projects and receive support (financial, in-kind, or personal) from others
  • An alternative education fair, with representation from various organizations and service providers
  • Workshops, skillshares, and roadshows on alternative education
  • A resource list of various organizations, service providers, and programs open to Malaysians
  • A scholarship fund for young Malaysians interested in taking up alternative educational opportunities
  • Publications about alternative education

Based on an initial project proposal, I contacted various people and set up a YahooGroup and a TakingITGlobal Project Page, and even had a preliminary meeting. Some time later I and another member spoke with the Masters in Instructional Design students at Universiti Malaya about our project. I sent out the proposal anywhere and everywhere; ASTRO sounded interested.

We had high hopes, but due to many factors, we really didn’t get anywhere. I was embarking on my Up with People tour and wouldn’t be in the country for half the year. Other members dropped out and became disinterested. We also never made the proposal practical – we didn’t have a budget, which was sorely needed, and we couldn’t work out how to convert ideas into actual project steps. When I moved to Australia, I handed over leadership to another member, and stayed on in a supervisory role. EducateDeviate, which started on New Years Day 2006 after my return from UWP, was my way of getting the word about alternative education across; it was awareness-building without requiring too many resources, and I could start it immediately.

In the past year, especially within the past couple of months, awareness about the need for change in Malaysian education has increased manifold. Government officials, including the Ministry of Education, have spoken up against the rush for As and made it clear that students need to learn from real life, not just books and school. Young people with non-mainstream talents and achievements are being recognized. More and more Malaysians are taking up alternative educational opportunities, or researching about them – for instance, there is a Malaysian travelling in one of the UWP casts this year. I just received an email from a young lady who wants to set up a service to help students apply for internships, since her experience was quite a hassle. Malaysians now realize the importance of supporting youth ventures and of the rich variety of learning experiences outside school, and they’re hungry for information and resources.

It’s time to restart Brick In The Wall.

To get Brick In The Wall up and running again, we need people. We need people with very practical abilities – budgeting, resource planning, grant writing. We need creative people who can generate lots of ideas. We need people who can convert ideas into action. We need marketers and promoters. We need people well-versed in local law, policy, and regulations. We need people with energy, drive, and determination.

We need YOU.

Join the YahooGroup, introduce yourself, and share ideas. Download the project proposal (which desperately needs a rewrite) and suggest ways to improve it. Drop me a line. Pass the word on. Get involved.

Brick In The Wall needs you. Malaysian youth and education need you. Come join us.

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