BANGI, 13 July 2015 – The National University of Malaysia (UKM) and the Standard Chartered Foundation (SCF) will continue working together to improve the level of knowledge and awareness of Autism.
For such a purpose UKM, through the Faculty of Education has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SCF which also provided funds totalling RM98,000 to the university here today.
Autism is a group of complex disorders of brain development characterised, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviours.
UKM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said the MoU will help UKM strengthen efforts in increasing public awareness of the importance in ensuring autistic children get the education and care they deserve.
“As a research university, UKM is involved in the field of autism through the establishment of a Learning Lab for autism which started operations on 5 January 2009 and developed a learning model for autistic children,” he said at the MoU singing ceremony.
He said the collaboration between UKM and Standard Chartered is not – its been established since the end of last year.
“We were also honoured when SCF contributed funds for the operations of the laboratory and printed five books totalling 5000 copies of research results conducted during the process of teaching and learning in the laboratory,” he explained.
He said through the setting up of the learning laboratories, the Faculty of Education also offers a Diploma of Autism Education to anyone interested in Autism.
“This is a collaboration programme between the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences. For the first group, we have accepted a total of 35 students who have followed training here since January this year,” he clarified.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad, Mahendra Gursahani said the idea of conducting cooperation with UKM is to help children with autism get proper education as with other children.
“We will raise funds to be channelled to the less fortunate, because it is part of our company’s community investment initiatives,” he stated.
He said the focus is a community programme for youths such as activities to channel a new perspective on the needs of children who are less fortunate, and innovative programmes that develop the education of those youngsters.
“In addition, we also highlight health programs such as providing medical initiatives to curb chronic diseases among children and enhance health benefits for them,” he explained.
Mahendra said YSC also highlights certain programme by providing free education to boost children’s confidence and give aid suitable for them.
“Our target is to give back to the community. So, the funds will be channelled to the people in need and we are looking forward to collaborating with UKM.
“At this moment, in higher education programmes, we only undertake partnerships with UKM, but for the basic levels of education, we also conduct cooperation with several schools,” he added.
By Asmahanim Amir
Pix Abdul Raai Osman