Sekolah Kebangsaan Jenis Tamil Sungai Ara has proven that no dream is too big and no success is too hard to achieve when they’ve set their minds and hearts to it. They were recently crowned second place winner in this year’s Frog World Championship! We were able to interview Mr Sangga Sinniah, Headmaster of SJKT Sungai Ara and the main driving force of the school’s success and achievements in 21st Century education with Frog.
FrogAsia: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak with you today, Sir. First of all, we want to congratulate SJKT Sungai Ara for being a second place world winner in the Frog World Championship 2019! How does the entire school feel as a World Champion?
Mr Sangga: This is a huge success for our school and I am extremely proud. I tribute this success to my students for their tireless hard work and effort in consistently using Frog for their homework, revision and independent studies all this while.
FrogAsia: Wow, your students are so dedicated! Could you explain how their amazing dedication came to be?
Mr Sangga: Frog is a culture in our school. Students are just so tuned-in to Frog that they want to use the platform every day, even on weekends. As most students come from low income families, they don’t have internet and devices at home. So we keep our school open to students even on weekends so that they can have access to Frog to complete their homework and revision.
FrogAsia: Could you explain the initiatives driven in school to achieve this culture?
Mr Sangga: We’ve established a programme called the Help & Lift among our students. This is where upper primary students mentor lower primary students on how to operate a computer and login to Frog. The purpose of this programme isn’t focused on increasing student usage but to give students a chance to discover their abilities and build confidence. Some students are just not great academically, but they are passionate and skilled in ICT. So this programme gives such students an opportunity to discover their hidden talents and be proud of what they are able to do.
FrogAsia: What are some of the positive outcomes you have seen in students through this programme?
Mr Sangga: Our students have mastered the use of a computer and the internet. It is absolutely remarkable how fast they learn when given that trust and freedom to explore on their own. Some of these students are so good and confident at it that they are able to assist teachers in class. Our school is under-enrolled and we only have a handful of teachers. So these students have stepped up to be assistants to their teachers in facilitating classroom lessons through Frog Boost and FrogPlay.
FrogAsia: That sounds amazing! It’s really interesting when you mentioned about giving students trust and freedom to explore on their own. Could you elaborate more on that, Sir?
Mr Sangga: Teachers and parents shouldn’t be so afraid or resistant to the idea of technology in education. The key is to provide the right platform or channel for students and also to monitor their activities closely. Frog is made for education and I believe it to be a safe space for students to learn and explore digitally. And I also constantly monitor the Frog Analytics generated automatically on the system just to track our students’ usage and activities. However, I don’t impose on their space because I do not want to disrupt their exploration as that is how they learn.
FrogAsia: It is absolutely inspiring how forward-thinking you are, Mr Sangga! There must be a reason for this - could you share the source of your motivation?
Mr Sangga: I simply want to break the perception people have of Tamil schools. It is a generalisation and stereotype that Tamil schools are poor, backdated and left behind. But I can honestly say, my school is not. I am proud to say that our students are some of the most updated and tech-savvy individuals in the Tamil community.
In most parts of the world, many countries have already been using technology in education and are more advanced than we are. I don’t want to see my school, my teachers and my students be left behind and be unable to catch up in a world that is fast-moving and becoming more advanced. So I set a goal this year for us to gain world recognition and we have achieved just that by winning the Frog World Championship 2019. Our success in the World Championship is proof that we are on par with the rest of the world.
FrogAsia: And how would your school use this success to inspire other Tamil schools in Malaysia?
Mr Sangga: Simply by setting an example that everything is possible when we set our hearts and minds to it. I truly believe all Tamil schools can achieve the same success as SJKT Sungai Ara. They just need to step out of their comfort zone in using traditional teaching and learning methods and step into the future of 21st Century education. The Frog VLE is made for teaching and learning, and more, if schools are willing to explore more and be creative. Schools just need to start utilising the platform and they will soon discover all the benefits that Frog has to offer.
Read more about SJKT Sungai Ara’s success and achievements in 21st Century education in the news: SJKT Sungai Ara, model school for sustainable development goals, Mazlee puji pejuang alam SJKT Sg Ara, seru sekolah mencontohinya