MALAYSIA: School dropout Madenjit Singh, who founded an NGO offering free two-year training and boarding program providing life skills for disadvantaged youths in Southeast Asia, is in the running for a US$1m prize for teachers.
Madenjit, who had set up the Science of Life Studies 24/7 (SOLS 24/7) with his two sons, is among the 10 shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.
The award from the foundation is given to a super-special teacher who is currently teaching children in a compulsory setting or between the ages 5-18 are eligible, according to information on the foundation’s website.
In 2012, his outfit won a RM500,000 award from the Better Malaysia Foundation floated by the Vincent Tan, a Malaysian tycoon who had founded the Berjaya Group.
“With great faith in the SOLS 24/7 Science of Language and English training systems, Tan Sri Vincent pledged RM 10 million over the next five years to SOLS 24/7 to build English language learning centres and training initiatives,”according to a report found on SOL 24/7 website on the award.
A short biography on Madenjit say: “As a school drop-out who only realised the importance of education later in life, he decided to learn as much as possible and become a teacher for the poor.
“A self-starter and autodidact, he created a low-priced monthly motivational magazine that followed the approach of a correspondence course, giving children in rural and poor Malaysian communities access to life skills and knowledge.”
SOL 24/7, which claims more than 100,000 graduates under its belt, says it is running 185 schools in Malaysia, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Laos and India, some in remote villages.
The 10 finalists will be flown to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for the award ceremony on March 15. They were narrowed down from shortlisted candidates chosen from over 5,000 nominations and 1,300 final applications from 127 countries, according a Bernama report. – ASIA SAMACHAR (14 Feb 2015)
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. Go to www.asiasamachar.com]