Mendaki starts mentoring programme for students

Mendaki has started a mentoring programme for students who lack support at home, as it sharpens the focus of its education programmes.

The Malay-Muslim self-help group identified 150 Secondary One students for the pilot programme, which kicked off at four of its 51 Mendaki tuition scheme centres last month.

The aim is to ensure the students have an adult to turn to, Mendaki chairman Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday at the group's annual general meeting.

For a start, mentors will be assigned to those students "who may not have home support... (or) role models at home", said Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

He added: "The idea is to engage them beyond the classroom - bring them out for food, games, chit-chat sessions - so that we can motivate them to do better... They may have other challenges that may impinge on their ability to study better."

In announcing the mentoring scheme, Dr Yaacob also said Mendaki will continue to fine- tune its education programmes, and that "what we want to do now is to look at value-added components of our current programmes".

The group's education department is looking into e-learning as well as developing programmes for children six years old and younger.

Last year, Mendaki spent nearly $80 million on its activities, subsidies, scholarships and loans - 11 per cent more than in 2013 - benefiting some 75,000 young people.

Of this amount, more than $32 million was disbursed to 4,400 students under the tertiary tuition fee scheme. This is more than double the $15 million disbursed to 2,700 students in 2011, a year before the funding criteria were revised so that more students could benefit.

Noting this, Dr Yaacob said: "What it means is that we are helping a lot more Malay kids from deserving families... and we will continue to do so."

This article was first published on June 14, 2015.
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