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This Malaysian Teacher Quit Her Job To Revolutionise Education Around The Country

Edvolution Enterprise has been championing teacher building capacity in district education offices across 19 districts and eight states, and has brought impact to some 800 teachers and thousands of students.

Cover image via Melissa Gomes (LinkedIn) & Edvolution Enterprise

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Edvolution Enterprise CEO and co-founder Melissa Tanya Gomes quit her teaching career to transform other Malaysian educators around the country and revolutionise education

Since its launch in 2017, Edvolution Enterprise, a not-for-profit education company, has empowered teachers at all levels, created learning spaces in schools, and focused on literacy development for primary school children

The programme was the fruit that came from the seeds of Melissa's ambition to make an impact on marginalised communities after teaching at government schools for five years and leading a teacher leadership programme. Her passion to solve education inequality in Malaysia only grew after joining Teach For Malaysia.

Equipped with a degree in Economics, a postgraduate diploma in Education with distinction, and more than 10 years of experience in management consulting and education, the mother of two joined forces with her bestie and co-founder, Janice Chong, to start a project aimed at upskilling young teachers.

After moonlighting as consultants for four months, the pair managed to raise enough funds to help 14 high-needs national schools in Penang.

After months of developing a teacher leadership training framework and witnessing the impact of education, the duo made the difficult decision to quit teaching and set up their social enterprise to focus on helping teachers on the ground

Since 2018, Edvolution Enterprise has been championing teacher building capacity in district education offices across 19 districts and eight states. The organisation has impacted some 137 district offices, 143 schools, and 800 teachers.

Participants in Edvolution Enterprise's flagship programme Teacher Empowerment for School Transformation (TEST).

Image via Edvolution Enterprise

In the same year, Melissa co-founded a school improvement initiative for which she was awarded the Excellence in Service Award by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

"Some of the changes we witnessed in the districts we worked with are improved literacy rates, reduced student absenteeism, and innovation in the teaching and learning practises during the pandemic," Melissa told SAYS.

The driving force behind the organisation's impact is its flagship Teacher Empowerment for School Transformation (TEST) programme

The three-year leadership development initiative is aimed at building the capacity of state and district education offices to empower school leaders to create a collaborative and empowered work culture in schools.

With its flagship programme, Edvolution has shown amazing achievements. It has considerably decreased teacher absenteeism and strengthened students' emotional learning. This was partly because instructors' educational techniques had improved, including recognising students' work, rewarding excellent conduct, and paying attention to their needs in the classroom.

In light of this, MOE recognised the TEST programme as a "new model" for addressing educational imbalances in the nation's educational system. Its success has given Edvolution Enterprise the chance to participate in policymaking by serving as a subcommittee to the Jawatankuasa Dasar Kajian Pendidikan Negara and the review of the Malaysia Education Blueprint in the areas of District Leadership.

TEST was also named one of the top 150 educational innovations by HundrEd Global, a non-profit organisation searching for ground-breaking educational innovations.

"Besides that, Edvolution Enterprise has also been fortunate in the past two years to partner with edtech companies, corporations, and foundations in realising their social impact goals," Melissa added.

School roadshow with Maxis to promote the 2022 HIP Storyfest Competition.

Image via Melissa Tanya Gomes (Provided to SAYS)

Engagement with private sectors and former Ministry of Education officials on strengthening Edvolution Enterprise's current government programme.

Image via Melissa Tanya Gomes (Provided to SAYS)

Since its inception, Melissa's team has also grown from a family of four to 12, serving the country in the area of education. Meanwhile, their work has extended its reach to international schools.

The team is currently hosting over 200 thriving teachers in Edvolution's learning management system who are active in sharing their resources and learning from the classroom.

As far as future projects go, the social enterprise will soon be embarking on an online teacher leadership academy for teachers to:

- Learn anytime with an efficient and extensive online learning platform;
- Broadcast impact with a community of educators; and
- Be future-proof with the latest skills to redesign learning.

At the same time, Melissa is spearheading a district leadership programme in partnership with the MOE. On weekends, she volunteers to teach children in a church, experiments with baking new things, watches documentaries, and above all, she loves spending time with her family.

How can the rakyat help?

Melissa encourages Malaysians to be part of her organisation's programmes by volunteering or sharing their work on social media to raise awareness.

Or, better yet, if you are passionate and have the skills, she invites you to join the team at Edvolution Enterprise.

Teachers can also join their Telegram group for opportunities to connect, learn, and grow.

My goal for myself and the organisation is that we will not grow weary in serving our country.
Melissa Tanya Gomes

All this month, SAYS will be featuring inspiring stories of extraordinary Malaysian changemakers in collaboration with Wiki Impact

Wiki Impact is an online platform dedicated to the impact industry. They share stories and data on issues that matter, highlighting impact-driven organisations and changemakers on the ground. Categories include poverty alleviation, social justice, gender equality, healthcare and education for all, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, impact influencers, and more!

Find out more here.

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