Co-founder and Business Development Lead, Arus Academy
For ensuring under-privileged and high-needs students are not left behind in the future world
Alina Amir is the co-founder of Arus Academy, a social enterprise dedicated to instilling marginalised children with 21st-century skill sets, in order to equip them for a career in industries of the future. It partners with the Ministry of Education and international organisations, NGOs and community leaders to bring education to as many under-privileged and high-needs students in Malaysia.
An idea that came to her, while teaching history and English at a high-needs school in Penang for Teach For Malaysia, was after realising her students didn’t see the need for what they were learning in their everyday lives, or even to earn money. Amir teamed up with three other like-minded volunteer teachers to establish Arus Academy in 2014.
Instead of focusing on academia, Arus tackles a potentially serious challenge for today’s students in the future in a rapidly changing world. By employing the “maker education” philosophy (learning through making), it imparts future-proof skills sets like design thinking, coding and robotics through hands on projects that require students to devise physical or digital solutions for real-world problems. In the process, the after-school programme also nurtures a spirit of innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
A graduate from the University of Illinois, USA, Amir worked as an analyst at Accenture before quitting her job to teach. Reflecting on the educational opportunities that she was fortunately given—which led her on her path of a promising career—inspired her to help ensure other Malaysian students receive similar opportunities.
Did You Know?
Besides spearheading Arus Academy, Alina also pioneered a peer tutoring programme called Blok A in her second year as a Teach For Malaysia fellow that was so well received that she needed to help run it.