School of Peace – Improvements

Today I met with people from REPUSM.  They’ve been tracking the money for the School of Peace and are handling the application to establish an NGO with the express purpose of funding the School of Peace.

They’ll send me all details related to the NGO: name, sponsors, mission declaration, etc. Pretty much the contents of the application she submitted to the Malaysian government.

Miscellaneous facts:

-50 kids are enrolled at the school
-Their families live throughout the nearby neighborhood.  They found accommodations on their own.  Some live four families to a house.  They are expected to pay RM50 per enrolled student per month.
-Most arrived 2-3 years ago, but some as many as 6 years ago.
-There’s no formal curriculum or goals being followed
-Exams are being held next week, but they are not standardized Malaysian exams, but rather assessments developed by the 2 paid teachers – because “the kids are not at the level they need to be for the regular exams.”
– Currently the account has about RM30 ($8) in it.
-Approximately 30 volunteers have come and gone over the past few years.
– They’ve operated the school on RM5400 per month or RM65k over the past year. That’s ~$1500 per month or ~$18k USD.  Using only private donations from friends and family I can see why the budget is so tight.  It’s amazing what they’re accomplishing with so little funding.  But I imagine so much more could be achieved with more funding.  
-Full time teachers are paid RM1000 per month (that’s about $280 USD), but are given a few hundred extra on months when there is money in the account. So, RM1k- RM1300.

Doing a little research, I see that in Malaysia, teachers make between RM800 for very low paid entry level teachers to RM4000 per month for senior teachers with experience. Penang skews to the high end of the pay ranges.

Teacher Level Low Mid High / Penang
Senior RM2200 3000 4000
Mid RM1500 2100 2800
Entry RM800 1337 1800

IMO, teachers should be paid at least RM2100 per month.  Definitely more than RM1000.  That’s for sure.

So what improvements?  Well, I’m thinking 2 qualified full time teachers, Perhaps one part time teacher + volunteers.  Offer extended hours for children who wish to get on track for university.  Come up with a standard curriculum.  Offer after school activities such as football and badminton.  Compete with other schools academically and athletically.  Provide supplies, books, white boards, etc. Bring in education advisers.  Make the school 100% free for refugee children.

This monthly budget would get us started:


2000  rent
2000  supplies, furniture, repairs,
2000  teacher #1
2000  teacher #2
1000  part time teacher #3
1000  activity fund & uniforms & transportation
RM10,000  == $2,777USD per month

That’s an annual budget of RM120,000 == $33,333.

This is where I’d like to start.  Once we get another full time qualified teacher, and extend the schoolday, we can develop the curriculum and bring in more volunteers for spot lessons like woodworking or unicycling or football or extra English.