Education and philanthropy epitomize the entrepreneurial path of Raja Singham, the co-founder and managing director of the BAC Education Group (BAC). A leading figure within the Malaysian and regional educational and business circles, the continuous execution of successful game-changing programmes has sustained the visionary goals of this multi-award-winning educationist. With more than 30 years of experience in the education field, Raja continues to break new grounds in helping people achieve their dreams. In an interview with Education+Tvet Asia, Raja speaks candidly on moulding today’s generation, helping the less fortunate and future plans aligned to digitalisation and globalisation within the education and social fields.
The inspiration to venture into education started from a young age. “I have always been teaching someone right from school when I used to help my peers with their school work,” recollects Raja. “Plus I come from a family of teachers, both my parents, brother and wife are in the educational field.”
“The right set of DNA, that is the influence of those around me and my innate talent has naturally steered me towards education. I started small and now there is no end to it,” smiles Raja. The BAC Education group is playing a significant role in the innovation of integrated educational programmes, combining the need to build students who fit into the dynamics of global changes while simultaneously not forgetting the nurturing of social responsibilities.
With pride, Raja outlines the highlights of a new integrated framework aptly termed “Learn Different”. “During the pandemic, we sat down and improved our current programmes through consolidation and augmentation of new programmes aligned to changing industry demands,” says Raja.
“The main reason we have come up with this framework is because of the gaps in the current education system and “Learn Different” intends to close those gaps, “continues Raja. “Change is inevitable and we have to override change to be successful,” emphasises Raja, “Changes are fervently taking place everywhere and we realise that the only way to surmount the challenges of change is to innovate, adapt and adopt. And “Learn Different” is our blueprint for managing change. “Learn Different” is a model that integrates education with technology.”
“Learn Different” is segmented into the four pillars of Learn, Play, Work and Impact. All four pillars are necessary for the shaping and moulding of students ready to enter new vocations as socially responsible citizens.
“Learn consists of our in-house courses augmented with online tuition courses from world-class faculties and online platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and Skillshare. This is supported by a digital library called ABACUS Digital,” explains Raja. By tapping into external global academic platforms, students are exposed to current global practices, knowledge and cultures.
The wide range of programmes available in the Play pillar provides students with opportunities to develop talents ranging from kick-boxing to debating. “I encourage students to pick up new talents and skills because exploring diverse talents improves creativity and strength of character,” says Raja quoting Leonardo Da Vinci and Winston Churchill as prime polymath role models in possession of multi-faceted talents.
“The Work pillar ensures students are ready to enter the working world,” explains Raja, “and we on our part have built industry and partnership links for internship and apprentice placements. This prepares students in their job hunts and entrepreneurial stints. It is undoubtedly a win-win situation with the right talents being able to fit in seamlessly with the dynamic demands of industries.”
“Impact, the fourth pillar is a favourite area of mine,” beams Raja, “BAC is very strong in this area. Through our social initiatives, we build and shape future leaders who want to create an impact in the world.”
Students get hands-on experience in understanding and resolving social issues and from a society’s perspective, people get immediate help when needed. The wide range of 250 programmes extends from disaster relief, animal welfare to single mothers and disability groups.
“BAC has always been steadfast in improving the welfare of the less fortunate,” explains Raja. “The numerous self-financed projects undertaken during calamities and unforeseen events utilising our resources have contributed towards providing much-needed assistance. Students involved in such efforts build leadership talent and develop social responsibilities.”
“I am proud to say we have made significant contributions both within the country and externally through collaborations with the local government bodies and international agencies such as UNICEF and UNHCR.”
During the recent pandemic, BAC was there on the ground helping more than 500,000 people. “The Free Food Society delivered food to an estimated 100,000 people and our Covid Fund financed medical supplies for government hospitals,” says Raja. “Significantly, as we are not encumbered by bureaucratic challenges, we can work fast in providing timely and effective results-driven solutions. For example, during the recent floods in Shah Alam, we made a significant contribution.”
Touching on the motive for the social initiatives, Raja replies succinctly, “The motive is to help others. I cannot sleep at night knowing there are others out there who need help.”
There are various plans on the cards that include the expansion of education infrastructure and various platforms for all educational levels. The “Learn Different” programmes will be further expanded in terms of curriculum and depth of content. The current programmes in mass communications, culinary and early childhood amongst others will also be further expanded.
As an entrepreneur, Raja’s policy of constant improvement and helping others improve on an individual, society and community level continues to showcase new successes never before attained.