Today P4E holds weekly 2-hour tutoring sessions on Saturday afternoons, conducted by 6 tutors. The programme is held in a dedicated location in the MKAC Centre for Enrichment located off Telok Kurau Road.
The programme adopts an approach different from typical “tuition centres”, by:
- Identifying children who are under performing, through focus groups, home visits and other MKAC outreach programmes.
- Talking to parents and the children to determine best development plan for the child.
- Talking to the child about the subjects he/she performs poorly in; determine the reasons for the underperformance, then develop a plan to spark interest in the subjects. Currently MKAC provides tutoring for English, Mathematics, Primary-school General Science and Secondary-school Biology/Physics/Chemistry.
- Assigning the child to a peer group in the programme, typically split by higher/lower primary or secondary school.
- Combining different presentations of the subject like group work, project assignments and revision of schoolwork, unlike typical “tuition” classes. Tutor help the children develop an interest for the subject matter, thus being motivated to learn.
- Evaluating the child’s performance informally on a monthly basis, through a combination of tutor’s feedback and scholastic performance (report cards, school assessments, etc.)
- Children that are identified as needing further support will receive additional 1-on-1 tutoring assistance.
In the pilot initiative “10-A-City”, secondary school age students are grouped into teams of 10 (approximately) with 2 facilitators. The facilitator work with this group of 10 in areas of psychosocial development by exploring their emotional and social issues. Through a combination of role-playing, peer advisory, experiential learning, life-mapping and other methods, these youths are provided with guidance to inspire changes in behavior so that they can grow to become positive and contributing adults. These sessions are held on Saturday mornings, each lasting approximately 2 hours.
Tutors also provide a debrief on a monthly basis to MKAC staff/caseworkers on the children’s progress, this feedback will form part of the patient family’s case file to provide a complete picture of the family’s status.
Passion 4 Education (“P4E”) is a programme established to provide for the children from kidney patient families. Through P4E, primary and secondary-age youth who underperform in school are encouraged to take a fresh interest in their weak subjects. MKAC believes that this will lead to better scholastic results and higher confidence levels.
In addition, P4E is piloting an initiative to support academic tutoring with life-skills training, this initiative is known as “10-A-City” (Tenacity). Secondary-school age youth are also mentored by a group of caring tutors and friends who provide guidance and training in this area. Through this training, they gain confidence, have stronger self-esteem and have a hope to plan for the future, despite the challenges of coping with a family member with kidney disease.
Persons suffering from kidney failure risk not adequately providing for the educational needs of their children. Ongoing treatments take a toll on their physical, financial and mental strength, impacting their ability to properly monitor and pay attention to their children’s progress in school.
Their children also undergo severe emotional and mental stress with a chronically ill parent at home. They suffer from low morale due to the strain placed on the family by chronic illness. This causes lack of confidence and low self-esteem, leading to a higher-risk of poor scholastic and social performance. This in turn can result in higher school dropout rates and anti-social behavior.
For older students who are facing further challenges of life-management in the difficult time of puberty, it is even more important for them to receive appropriate guidance to inculcate a positive outlook for the future. Secondary-school age students in particular need to receive some form of guidance to cope with their daily lives during the sensitive time of puberty. They need guidance to have the confidence to their future with a positive outlook. Being able to guide them on the right path at this age can pre-empt detrimental or anti-social behavior like school dropouts, unemployment, destructive and abusive behavior, among others.
This programme targets the children between the ages 7 to 18 years old from MKAC-registered kidney patient families. Children within this age range who are not from families registered with MKAC can enroll in the programme if space permits, for an affordable monthly fee. Currently, the pogramme tutors 25 students, half of which are primary-school age students, the other half being secondary-school age students.
The goal of this programme is to provide academic and life-skills support to children from kidney patient families overcome the obstacles prevent them from achieving their true potential. We believe that this programme can lead to stronger self-esteem, greater confidence levels and constructive behavior guided by strong values. In the long-run, they will cope better with the challenge of having a kidney patient in their families and aspire to greater opportunities despite their present difficulties.
Since June 2007, the programme has seen good uptake by kidney patients for their children. While there is progress in the children’s hard work and school performance, the programme is still young and long-term continued monitoring is needed to gauge the effects of the programme. MKAC is confident that the children will see a long-term improvement in their social and scholastic performance.
P4E aims to achieve the following targets:
- Successfully identifying and enrolling 10 more children that need support into the programme.
- A written/formal development plan created for each student.
- Mark/grade improvement of year-on-year school promotion over 1 year for each child.
- At least 75% regular attendance of these children in the programme over 1 year.
- An observable improvement in confidence levels, self-esteem and social behavior.
- Initiate regular dialogue with the children’s school teachers to obtain feedback about behavior and performance.
- Enrol at least 2 more children who are not from kidney patient families.