November 14, 2017
“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself; and then make a change.”
Have you ever met a person, walked into a place or experienced a moment then immediately associated a song with either situation? That was the experience at Dwi Emas International School. Schooladvisor.my had the marvellous opportunity of being part of their Open Day, which showed just how different and forward-thinking this school is.
Dwi Emas International School is Malaysia’s First Entrepreneurial School, offering the IPC, IGCSE and Cambridge A-Levels programmes with entrepreneurship and Financial Education as the core. They believe in growing a generation of pioneers who are the creators of opportunity and value to society hence the introduction of financial education to their students of both primary and secondary years.
Coincidentally, it was only this year, after multiple trips to Finland and Hong Kong, where Anne Tham, founder of Dwi Emas and the ACE EdVenture Programme, discovered many of the elements that make up the programme share similar philosophies with the famed Finnish system while also retaining the Asian values of education – quite the unique hybrid!
At the recent Open Day, eager parents were ushered into classrooms, ready to begin Dwi Emas’ Class Experience segment. The first class was English, headed by Miss Veno who teaches the subject to Year 9, 10 and 11 students.
The English Class Experience began with an activity that required everyone in the room to participate by shouting out words to describe a photograph. Miss Veno then made everyone sit in groups and brainstorm to write a paragraph describing the very same photograph, but this time with a catch – no words mentioned earlier could be used. The room erupted in loud response from the parents, mostly groans of disbelief and exclamation of its impossibility. For a moment there, the room seemed like it was filled with young children instead of grown adults. The idea of the whole session was to work the mind and challenge thinking, the very same technique that is used daily at Dwi Emas International School.
Following the English class was Mathematics, which was taught by the Director of Schools at Dwi Emas International School, Melinda Lim. Much like the previous class, she taught everyone about the classic Pythagorean theorem in an out-of-the-box way. Many of us may have forgotten majority of our Mathematics lessons in school but in that 20 minutes of being taught with yet another untraditional method, many were able to grasp the concept and retain the teaching.
After years of experience teaching, 26 to be exact, Melinda and her sister, Anne, deduced that the conventional way of teaching just wasn’t enough to get through to each and every child. They brainstormed for a solution and realised that entrepreneurship and the mindset and skill sets needed to be entrepreneurs are what’s really needed for the world of the future hence the birth of the school.
The school allows for teachers and students to be friendly with each other, and students to be curious of what they’re learning with asking questions and discussions stemming from that curiosity. Anne and Melinda are incorporating alternative methods into their subjects so that students would enjoy learning.
Apart from the unique curriculum provided, Dwi Emas also boasts a variety of facilities located all around campus that are available to students such as a Taraflex floored basketball court, 3 full-sized competition grade futsal courts, 12 badminton courts which are also of competition standard and a 11356-square-feet fully-equipped indoor playground. Both the basketball and badminton courts are located indoors and air-conditioned whereas the futsal courts are located on the roof top with a view of the vicinity.
Staying true to being an unconventional school, the swimming pool at Dwi Emas is a 25-metre-long pool that uses temperature-regulated salt water, unlike most pools which are generally chlorinated.
During Schooladvisor.my’s tour of the school’s campus, we were introduced to the hustle and bustle of Dwi Emas’ energetic and outgoing friendly students. According to Hong Kong newspaper HK01, parents who sent their children to Dwi Emas for 2 weeks to experience it first-hand ended up nicknaming the school “The Happy School”. If it was unclear before how the name came about, it’s clear now. The sight of children everywhere talking excitedly and greeting guests may have seemed chaotic but it really was an interesting sight to see them so enthusiastic and eager to be at school.
It shouldn’t be much of a wonder considering how the students are given the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship in a multitude of ways such as marketing and promotion, product ideation and development, selling, collaborating and being resourceful with the resources around them at events that Dwi Emas organises. The events are such as the ACE EdVenture Trade Fair, A Level Bazaar which was open to public, as well as the Young Entrepreneur’s Marketplace.
There are a of number success stories that come from the programme and these events with a total of 35 students having their own businesses. To highlight a couple are Dwi Emas’ very own Shailaja, who started her own tea company at the age of 7 and Myra, a Year 10 student who built and manages a clothing line which uses part of its profits to help children going through cancer. There are also many up-and-coming students who are in the midst of getting their businesses up as well. It is truly amazing to hear their stories, knowing that age is but a number when it comes to achieving goals.
Hearing from both the sisters on their vision for a new and improved school is the sole reason Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror is so apt. They clearly want to make a change, and making a change is what they are doing. Everything about Dwi Emas International School screams unique and different – from their unorthodox methods of teaching to the way they carry out their open days and to the fundamentals – a curriculum that involves entrepreneurship.
By Rachelle Lee
Dwi Emas International School is located in Shah Alam, Selangor with the purpose of creating trailblazers that are ready to lead in tomorrow’s world. They use the combination of textbooks with unorthodox methods to engage students.
The foundation for their curriculum came from the ACE EdVenture Programme. The ACE EdVenture Programme was founded by Anne Tham in 1995, a teacher by profession who saw the need for a learning system that would provide students with essential skills that would help them be ready for life beyond school.
In a world that is increasingly interconnected, dynamic and technology-driven, people who are adaptable, innovative and socially intelligent succeed in the long run. The entrepreneurial journey is a platform for incredible learning opportunities for valuable skills, hence Dwi Emas International School has set itself apart by being Malaysia’s First Entrepreneurial School. Just consider what it takes to run a sustainable, profitable business: things like the creative problem solving, the ability to spot opportunities and self-reflect come to mind. At Dwi Emas, students begin honing these skills from Year 1 via their signature Financial Education classes (the backbone of the school’s Entrepreneurship Programme).
While traditional systems prepare students to be job-seekers, Dwi Emas students are empowered with choice: To contribute their valuable mindset, skills and experience to work for an organisation, or to set up their own business and provide jobs for others.