BUSINESS AS USUAL
Since Dwi Emas International School was established in 2015, its students have already launched more than one fledgling business. This isn’t a business school, however, but an innovative primary and secondary school that has placed financial and business education firmly into its curriculum. In years 10 and 11, groups of students are challenged to come up with a business idea – and run with it. Meanwhile, in the accounting course, students have to complete the actual business accounts of real companies.
“By providing our students with a business education, they simultaneously learn about solving problems and providing solutions for the community,” says founder and Group CEO Anne Tham.
Dwi Emas International School – based in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur – is the first entrepreneurial school in Malaysia. Students are introduced to business education in Year 1 and continue with it all the way up to A levels, alongside the International Primary Curriculum, IGCSE and Cambridge International A Levels. Currently, there are students at the school aged 13 and 14 with their own online businessses in line with the commitment of the school’s educational programmes. To top it off, Dwi Emas International School even has a seven-year-old CEO with her own online tea business!
Its sister school, Sri Emas, located in the nearby city of Petaling Jaya, caters for ages 11 to 16, and follows the Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE syllabus. Like Dwi Emas, it too offers an innovative approach. One of the group’s recent achievements was ChemCaper, the world’s first chemistry role-playing game. Developed by arts, humanities and chemistry teachers at Sri Emas, the game invites players to complete a quest based on the IGCSE chemistry syllabus, getting them to solve learning issues that might seem difficult to learn via textbooks alone. The app was launched in San Francisco in 2016 and is available on the Google Play and iTunes AppStore in nine different countries.
The schools’ extracurricular activities have proven just as successful. Sri Emas students were invited to participate in the opening and closing acts of Astro Battleground, a hugely popular, countrywide TV dance competition. And its creative arts students picked up three awards – Best Production Design, Best Principal Role and Best Direction – at the 13th Cameronian BOH Awards, which celebrate outstanding performances in dance, music, theatre and musical theatre. In addition, three former female students took their dodgeball skills learnt at the school to the 2016 Dodgeball World Championships in Melbourne, where the team took gold. Three former male students also took silver in the same tournament.
Both Dwi Emas and Sri Emas are gaining quite a reputation abroad, with schools in four Asian countries looking to emulate their approach. “We are becoming known for driving a 21st-century education,” says Tham. “We’re taking the traditional curriculum further, but in addition, we have to instil the right values. The students understand that their business has to create massive value. It has to be profitable, of course, but it has to be sustainable – a win for the entrepreneur but also a win for the customer, and a win for the community and environment around them.”