Cover Jennifer Yu Cheng established the Jennifer Yu Cheng Girls Impact Foundation to give teenage girls a leg up in the world by unlocking their leadership potential.

These education advocates equip children with meaningful skills for success in today’s world

To help children succeed in today’s world, these education advocates from Asia’s Most Influential list are employing non-traditional methods while also prioritising relevant and meaningful skills. They champion experience learning and subjects such as programming, data analysis, design, and art. They are also shaping future leaders who are ready to pay it forward by instilling that learning is a right for all. 

Jennifer Yu Cheng, Hong Kong

At the end of July, the Jennifer Yu Cheng Girls Impact Foundation will welcome a new batch of learners for its Summer Camp program. Yu Cheng established the foundation to give teenage girls a leg up in the world by unlocking their leadership potential, particularly through digital learning.

Its signature program, 10,000 Girls4Girls Coding+, teaches girls programming languages so they can pursue STEM careers and, with this knowledge, be inspired to train other girls in fundamental coding skills. Recently, its 13 Coding Explorer Program celebrated its first graduating class, whose members are now ready to become teaching assistants. 

“I hope these young women will be equipped to pursue more diverse career options and empowered to lead and contribute to the future economy, to that talent pipeline for technological innovation and development for Hong Kong, Greater Bay, or even beyond,” Yu Cheng told Tatler.

Yu Cheng has been a longtime champion of education, having led Arch Education, which links students with top universities around the world, and also the K12 management company CTF Education Group.

Read Jennifer Yu Cheng’s full profile here.

Li Ling Hsu, Taiwan

Li Ling Hsu established the Xue Xue Institute as a non-traditional education centre for design, arts, and the humanities. Its curriculum, which has the equivalent education level of a regular high school, utilises an experimental approach that allows students to learn through synaesthesia and serendipity. For creatives, synesthaesia—defined by the school as "a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway"—is said to develop artistic sensibility, while serendipity helps sharpen imagination. 

Through this interdisciplinary environment, the strategy director allows students to develop self-growth, self-actualisation, and personal characteristics. Graduates of the Xue Xue Institute have been accepted by acclaimed educational institutions such as the Royal Academy of the Arts in Belgium, Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Parson School of Design in the US, and more. 

Read Li Ling Hsu’s full profile here.

Alina Amir, Malaysia

Social enterprise Arus, co-founded by Alina Amir, de-emphasises content knowledge to promote meaningful and relevant skills. Employing experiential learning adventures, it develops a problem-solving mindset with challenging subjects such as financial literacy and world issues. 

Arus is also focused on providing equitable education. In partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, it offers the digital learning platform, Future Skills for All, which teaches Micro:bit, HTML, Python, and SQL programming. It also launched an education program in collaboration with Buku Jalanan Chow Kit for stateless children. 

Moreover, Amir, who recognizes how students spend a lot of time on social media, has harnessed the power of the platform by introducing bite-sized learning clips designed for TikTok and Instagram Reels. 

Read Alina Amir’s full profile here.

Discover the changemakers, industry titans and powerful individuals who are making a positive impact on the region in the Asia’s Most Influential list from Tatler.

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