The Role of Universities in Rural Development

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Universities play a huge role when it comes to two SDGs, Quality Education (UN-SDG4) AND Partnerships for the Goals (UN-SDG17) -The Malaysian school system is set to commence in March 2024. A significant challenge faced by many children from disadvantaged families in both rural and urban-poor areas is the inability to afford essential school supplies such as uniforms and bags. Due to financial constraints, these children often share uniforms, shoes, and bags with their siblings.

Over the past three years, academics from Sunway University have collaborated closely with school administrators, parent-teacher associations, community organisations, and industry stakeholders in various localities to garner support for these underprivileged children. The accompanying images, taken on February 4, 2024, in Carey Island, showcase the team's efforts in collaboration with three schools and local stakeholders to provide students with the necessary resources to prepare for the upcoming school semester. This initiative has positively impacted more than 100 students.

The enduring and robust relationships in these communities have resulted in positive developmental outcomes for rural children, including improved access to essential resources, ICT services, dedicated teachers, and online materials. These initiatives are beginning to enhance teaching and learning outcomes in rural areas, specifically among this demographic. Sunway academics have documented the results of these long-term partnerships in reputable journals and outlets.

For those interested in learning more about the team's projects on multi-dimensional poverty and values-based development models, you can reach out to Professor Mahendhiran Sanggaran Nair, Daniel Lee Lih Wei or Professors Santha Vaithilingam or Pervaiz Ahmed. Additionally, individuals interested in pursuing a PhD in this field can contact them, as Sunway University offers a competitive PhD scholarship scheme with the next application deadline on March 1, 2024.