Media Prima’s education programmes focus on sponsoring education, reading and literacy, business education and other local needs. Activities carried out have impact on various communities in different ways. While benefitting the target groups directly, they also raise awareness among the general public of the plight of the underprivileged. Among Media Prima’s education initiatives are:
This programme is undertaken by government linked companies (GLCs) to help raise academic standards at under-performing schools, generally in rural areas. As a GLC, Media Prima has adopted two schools – SMK Jelutong and SMK Hutchings – both in Penang. It engaged Dr Zasmani Shafiee, an expert on working with children and adults with learning disabilities, to conduct a workshop with parents from the two schools.
During the session, Dr Zasmani touched on time management, planned family activities and family involvement, reminding the parents of their impact on the child and that schooling improves when parents are involved. This resulted in better academic performance, reduced absenteeism, better behaviour and higher self-confidence among the children. Dr Zasmani continues to aid students at SMK Jelutong on her own initiative. In 2008, SMK Jelutong was recognised as the best secondary school for students with special needs. The number of special needs students in the school accordingly rose from 59 in 2007 to 69 in 2008.
The schools are now implementing their own programmes to supplement the efforts of Media Prima to motivate students and teachers to generate good results.
Other initiatives run by Media Prima include the following:
8TV Scholarship Fund
This scholarship for undergraduate degrees, diplomas and foundation courses was established in 2006 in collaboration with SEGI College. In 2008, the fund totaled RM1 million, benefitting 39 students selected from over 1,000 applicants. Media Prima intends to partner more universities and colleges to be able to increase its fund to at least RM1.5 million for 2009.
NTV7 Project Sunshine
The ntv7 programme highlighted inadequacies in primary schools – such as poor library facilities and badly equipped science labs – then provided the resources to carry out the necessary improvements. This programme was carried out in partnership with SP Setia via 13 30-minute episodes focusing on 13 schools.
With support from RHB Bank Berhad, Longman, various universities and shopping malls, Media Prima ran this spelling competition to raise interest in learning and language. More than 1,959 participants from 207 upper primary and 283 secondary schools took part in the SIR Challenge. Due to the positive response, the challenge was extended to lower primary school students too.
NSTP School Sponsorship Programme
Annually, four million copies of the New Straits Times are distributed to 2,058 rural and semi-urban schools for students to read and improve their English. In addition, Newspaper-in-Education (NIE) workshops are conducted to encourage teachers to use newspapers as a teaching tool.
NST Book Donation Campaign
Members of the public were invited to donate English reading material in exchange for free entries to NST’s NIE Educational Session. The books were given to Rumah Amal Desa Nyireh in Semenyih; and Rumah Nur Salam in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. About 420 books were collected over the two-month campaign.