Petaling Jaya gurdwara tuition: Expanding role of a Malaysian gurdwara

Tuition classes are free, open to all students regardless of race, faith and socio-economic backgrounds

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Photo: GSPJ Tuition Team
By GSPJ Tuition Team | MALAYSIA |

Gurdwaras are one of the core institutions for the Sikh way of life. From the day we are born, we become part of the Gurdwara community. In fact, it is where most of us learn about our faith and then begin to develop our relationship with our Guru, where we celebrate joyous and sometimes unfortunate events with our family and friends, where we learn to speak Punjabi and read Gurmukhi, and where there’s always a hot nutritious meal to feed our hunger. On certain occasions, there are mini camps (aka mini-samelans) that molds our leadership and people skills so we are better-prepared to face the real world. Gurdwaras play many functions in the community but ideally we feel there is still room for more.

In this article, we focus on the educational front of things.

Across Malaysia, children are returning to the classrooms this week. The harsh truth is their performance in the classroom is becoming increasingly important in setting their future path. Let’s face it in today’s world, a solid education has become a pre-requisite to a successful and comfortable life, more so if you come from poorer communities. However, if we can effectively focus on educating children since young, we can help to avoid the traps of poverty and joblessness.

As one of our core institution, Gurdwaras could and should play a part in this system. We already have the infrastructure (i.e. classrooms) in place, a strong pipeline of talent within the Sanggat and most importantly a sewa-focused mindset. We have done an amazing job in ensuring everyone is well-fed, we should be able to replicate this feat with free basic education for children.

Based on this principle, we started the GSPJ Tuition initiative in 2018 to provide free tuition classes to form 1 students. Our initiative was well received. We sought qualified teachers to conduct the classes and were given full support by the Gurdwara Parbhandak to utilize the classrooms in PJ Gurdwara. Classes commenced in the second week of January 2018. Within weeks of the commencement, we received funding from the Malaysian Gurdwara Council (MGC) via grants from Socio Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (SEDIC) under the Prime Minister’s department.

With the additional funding, we were able to add more subjects and forms within the year. By the end of 2018, we were providing tuition to circa 40 form 1 and 2 students, covering core subjects like English, Mathematics and Science. This would not have been possible without the continuous support from our tireless teachers and volunteers, parents and funders (i.e. PJ Gurdwara Parbhandak, MGC and SEDIC).

Photo: GSPJ Tuition Team

We are proud to announce that this initiative will continue in 2019. Experienced teachers and tutors have been recruited to teach English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics and Science for form 1, 2 and 3 students. Tuitions are free of charge and it is open to all students regardless of race, faith and socio-economic backgrounds. If anyone would like to register, please get in touch with us immediately (Jagmeet: 0166877067 or Sarabmeet: 0124447463).

Unfortunately, funding remains uncertain at this stage. Regardless, this initiative will continue. To those who would like to support and donate to this initiative, do get in touch with us.

It is our hope that this would inspire more of such initiatives across other Gurdwaras in Malaysia. Together, we can transform our Gurdwaras to be an education hub open to everyone, on top of the many other functions it already serves.

(GSPJ Tuition Team: Sarabmeet, Jagmeet, Gurrajvin, Vinodini, Arvinder)

 

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