Outstanding Malaysian Trust School Named Top 3 finalist For New $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes

An outstanding Malaysian Trust School has been named a Top 3 finalist for the new $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes, launched this year by T4 Education in collaboration with Yayasan Hasanah, Accenture and American Express.

Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang, a primary school in Kuantan, Malaysia, which created a fully automated tracking system that follows students’ progress, is a Top 3 finalist for the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation.

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress, especially in the wake of COVID.

The Prizes were founded by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, Templeton World Charity Foundation, the Lemann Foundation, D2L, Mellby Gård, and Universidad Camilo José Cela, to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.

Dato’ Shahira Ahmed Bazari, Founding Trustee & Managing Director of Yayasan Hasanah, said, “Congratulations to Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang for being named a Top 3 finalist for the first ever World’s Best School Prizes. Educators everywhere will take great inspiration from this outstanding Malaysian Trust school. It is continuing proof that our public schools are capable of being amongst the best in the world.”

“We are honoured to join T4 Education in supporting these prizes, which recognise and promote ‘bottom-up’ transformation and create a global community who can learn from each other and create a groundswell of positive impact for students around the world.”

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said, “As the world looks to rebuild from the devastation of the COVID pandemic, far too many children will continue to be left behind unless we see urgent action for education. Leaders must learn from the knowledge and experience contained within our schools because those on the frontlines of education know better than anyone else the change we need to see.

“The World’s Best School Prizes surface the expertise of inspirational schools from every corner of the globe. It’s time for governments everywhere to listen to their voices.

Nina Adlan Disney, Executive Director of LeapEd Services, who designed and implemented SK Kempadang’s Trust Schools Programme, said, “SK Kempadang’s success at the global level is a testament to what whole school transformations can achieve. Our aim is to build capacity and empower schools to proactively come up with their own innovative solutions to their specific challenges. We are very proud of SK Kempadang and we hope that they stand out as a role model of the collective effort of every stakeholder – government, state and district, collaborating with school leaders, teachers, students, parents, as well as the community.”

About the school:

Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang, a primary school in Kuantan, Malaysia faced twin challenges in 2021. Not only did it have to contend with teaching and tracking student progress in the pandemic, but the Ministry of Education’s decision to scrap the end-of-primary test known as UPSR in favour of ongoing, school-based assessment also left it unable to access real-time student learning data from which it could inform lesson planning to support all students. Its innovative solution was to create SMARTZOOM, a fully automated tracking system that follows students’ progress in their studies.

SMARTZOOM uses data input on Google Sheets and Google Chrome as all Malaysian teachers have a designated Google account linked to the Ministry of Education. Using that data, staff were able to devise concrete and detailed lesson plans tailored to their specific class. Supporting teachers as well as Panel Heads were given training material in the form of YouTube videos and workshops that helped them with the transition.

The majority of the student population of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang come from the bottom 40% of household incomes in Malaysia. Despite the vulnerability of its students, the school has invoked a strong faith in its ability to educate those who walk through its doors. Since it became a Trust School in 2015, its enrolment rate has increased by 6% or 7% every year.

If Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation, it would use the funds to improve and expand the capacity of SMARTZOOM and share it with other schools around the country. The money would also be invested in supporting the co-curriculum activities of the school, for instance helping students to continue participating in the national robotics competition.

Next steps:

The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes will now be entered into a Public Advisory Vote. Members of the public have until October 2 to tell judges who they think should win each prize at worldsbestschool.org/

The Judging Academy, comprising distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector, will be presented with the results of the public advisory vote and will assess the finalists based on rigorous criteria.

The winners will be announced on October 19 2022 at World Education Week. A prize of US$250,000 will be shared equally among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000.

All shortlisted schools across the five Prizes will share their best practices during events at World Education Week and through School Transformation Toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.

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