Yayasan PETRONAS’ annual Back To School programme goes beyond basics
In what is one of the country’s largest Back To School programmes, Yayasan PETRONAS will be providing 21,000 primary school students from low-income households across Malaysia with personal hygiene kits and school supplies in preparation for the 2021 academic year.
In addition to helping students resume school with ease, Yayasan PETRONAS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education is also providing teachers at beneficiary schools with lesson plans to cultivate an interest in the science of personal hygiene amongst primary students this year.
For Perak, the distribution of the packs was implemented by Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) on 11 March 2021. UTP Vice Chancellor Professor Ts. Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib handed over the hygiene kits and school supplies to Perak State Education Department Director Dr Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Ali.
Yayasan PETRONAS Chief Executive Officer Nelly Francis Shariah said: “Our aim for Back To School has been consistent since PETRONAS started with the programme 18 years ago. We want to reduce one of the barriers that families from low-income households often experience, which is the cost of school supplies, a factor linked to dropout rates. However, we are taking additional steps this year by providing personal hygiene kits so that students can stay safe and acclimatise to the ‘new normal’ as they resume school.
“In addition to providing these supplies, we also want to ensure we imbue two important factors – the pivotal role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in preparing our children for the future, and the enduring role teachers play in inspiring their students. This is why we are going beyond basics this year,” Nelly added.
Through Yayasan PETRONAS’ Back To School programme this year (BTS 2021), 21,000 students will each receive two 3-layer reusable face masks, a small towel, a box of paper soap, a school bag, a tumbler, a student activity notebook, a pencil case and stationery, as well as two sets of school uniforms and a pair of socks and shoes.
The student activity notebook includes several simple science experiments on personal hygiene, health infographics and stickers which are designed to spark interest among the students and help them realise how science is not just a subject but can be applied in real life.
Labuan-based teacher, Angela binti Joseph, who designed the science lesson plans for this said: “I’m so glad that Yayasan PETRONAS gave me this opportunity to share information on the science behind COVID-19 in a fun way with underprivileged students who otherwise may not have access to information.” She is part of the first cohort of teachers in Yayasan PETRONAS’ Program Duta Guru. She also prepared supplementary lesson plans and provided instruction sheets for teachers on how to record and share these lessons online.
Yayasan PETRONAS also released a 3-episode explainer video on the science of personal hygiene featuring “STEM Man”. It serves to remind parents, children and their community of the importance and responsibility of practising safe habits so that schools will not be affected with an outbreak. The videos are released on Yayasan PETRONAS’ online and social media channels.
BTS 2021 will run from 8 March until the end of the month in all states nationwide with the support of PETRONAS staff who also took time to post notes of encouragement to students to motivate them in their studies via Yayasan PETRONAS’ social media channels.
The Back To School programme is part of Yayasan PETRONAS’ education focus area.