It has been over two years now since the Pandai app’s inception in 2020, and close to 500,000 Malaysian students impacted thus far by our learning app. In line with the Pandai app’s third anniversary recently, we interviewed our co-founders – Khairul Anwar, Chief Executive Officer; Suhaimi Ramly, Chief Operations Officer and Akmal Akhpah, Chief Technology Officer – to understand their journey in coming together to help students get better grades in school. Read on to find out more about it!
The three of you co-founded Pandai.org in January 2020. Briefly, tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi everyone! I’m Khairul Anwar, and I’m the Chief Executive Officer of Pandai.org. As the lead and face of Pandai.org, I keep my team aligned with our mission to transform the learning space with technology. To realise our mission, I hire the right talent in line with our sense of purpose to help students get better grades in school. I’m excited to share that our team now comprised forward-looking individuals who are strong believers in our vision to equip today’s young minds for tomorrow.
On top of these, I oversee our external stakeholders’ collaboration and investment with us. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering & Economics from Purdue University in 2005 and landed my first job as an engineer with Motorola as a ‘Research & Development Engineer’.
As I’ve always been involved in many business ventures since my university years, I then completed my MBA in Marketing in 2011. I am a Sagittarius and I consider myself a tech geek. My interests include building businesses and getting to know people. Whenever I’m not busy, I enjoy playing futsal with my friends and spending quality time with my family.
I’m Suhaimi, and I’m Pandai.org’s, Chief Operations Officer. Before anything else, I must admit that I’m a proud nerd. I spent my schooling years learning about advanced Maths. My love for Maths led me to complete my bachelor’s degree in it from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (or in short, MIT) in 2005. Surprisingly, I love writing and I minored in one at MIT.
I also started blogging since then. My four years at MIT were an eye-opener for me as I was surrounded by many geniuses from across the world. As an avid reader, my reading interests can be just about anything that I came across. For example, I recalled buying a book about pottery in Japan and becoming immersed in it. I enjoy collecting books so much that I even had my library at home together with wheeled ladders to fetch them. Khairul would always joke that my home library is akin to Hogwart’s library from the Harry Potter movies.
At Pandai.org, I’m responsible to oversee the learning journey of our users and designing personalised education content to help children realise their full potential. Coming from a working-class family that prioritises education, I am humbled to work with Pandai.org to give back to the community and our nation.
Now that you’ve heard from Khairul and Suhaimi. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m Akmal and I serve as the Chief Technology Officer for Pandai.org. My love for tech started when my parents bought me a computer when I was eleven, which led to my early exposure to coding.
Like Khairul and Suhaimi, I’m also a tech geek and a proud nerd. However, I’m not your normal nerd. I love arts first, and my second love is coding or IT. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York in 2005, before completing my master’s in software engineering at University Teknologi Mara in 2011. Since 2007, I’ve co-founded several tech companies to improve government and public sector services and provide high-quality education to children. I am an OKR enthusiast and an entrepreneur by heart.
I am passionate about solving real-life problems with tech and enabling students to thrive academically with it. As a seasoned programmer, I oversee Pandai.org’s UI/UX design since our platform is relatively cloud-based. I also work closely with our digital and creative team. All in all, the three of us are childhood friends and had known each other for more than 20 years. Our varied backgrounds complement each other well in our respective areas.
All of you were batchmates in MRSM Jasin. How did your early MRSM days inspire all of you to come together for Pandai.org?
We were fortunate that our paths crossed in 1998 during our secondary schooling years at MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba in Jasin, Malacca, one of the top schools in Malaysia today. With its huge school compound, students were segregated by 16 classes per batch, studied different subjects and stayed in segregated dorms. MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba’s motto has always been ‘we strive for infinite excellence’, and it has developed our outlook to pursue everything we do with great excellence.
After our high school days, we parted ways and pursued our dreams overseas and later became busy climbing the corporate ladder. I think it was fated that one of our batchmates organised a reunion at an Indian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, and the three of us were eventually reunited.
We were amazed to know that each one of us had side gigs in the field of education. It felt like the stars were all aligned for us from there on. After numerous meetings and toying with the idea to go all out in our side gigs, we did something that would be considered insane back then (and till now).
If you’re wondering if we eventually resigned from our stable-paying jobs, then you got it right! It was rather a risky move, and I would not recommend others to follow in our footsteps in pursuing their startup ideas. Despite our risky move, we’re glad that we boldly took it and we’ve gone a long way since our early MRSM days. If you’re eager to find out how our MRSM days led to the catalyst that inspired us to venture into businesses related to education, my co-founder Suhaimi will tell you more about it.
Just to add to what Khairul shared earlier, I was blessed to be the beneficiary of a good school throughout my secondary years 24 years ago. MRSM’s education system was indeed top-notch, and our teachers were crème de la crème who are experts in their fields.
When I became a father, I realised that proper education is the only way children can change their life for the better and break the vicious poverty cycle – if they are inevitably shackled in one. I’m blessed that MRSM had opened many doors for me in life. At 16, I represented Malaysia in the Mathematics championship and many other competitions thanks to MRSM’s great support system.
On top of these, MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba’s library was my go-to place and I think I spent most of my time there. I guess I was showing so much eagerness in academics and extra co-curricular activities back then, I was elected as the Head, Boy there to represent my entire batch. I must admit that my strong inclination and performance in academics since young is proof that students can thrive if placed in an ideal learning environment that exponentially nurtures their growth.
Simply said, MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba was a great example of one, and since my teenage years, I’ve always wondered how much other students can benefit from a great education ecosystem – just as I did there. We strongly believe that our MRSM days were life-changing, and we want to emulate the same effect to inspire our youths to love learning and excel in their studies with the Pandai app.
I must agree with what Suhaimi said about MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba being an ideal learning environment for us regardless of the different streams we pursued back then. The teachers there demonstrated great compassion and character – which was the reason why most of us excelled not only in academics but also character-building since young.
We also learnt about the importance of upholding great values in life since we were very young, and why we must apply strong critical skills in our growth journey. Best of all, MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba had all the right support systems and materials for us to pursue knowledge in our area of interest. Most of the teachers there studied abroad and had extensive teaching experience in their repertoire. It would be impossible for you to go to class and not feel inspired by them.
I mean, more than just teaching us how to excel in our studies, they also helped us understand why the knowledge was essential for us, and how we can apply it effectively. Recalling all the fond secondary schooling memories at MRSM, we’re indeed thankful that our paths crossed there over two decades ago – and we were able to fully harness its optimal learning ecosystem.
How did your experience with Ardent Edu as your previous edutech lead to the foundation of Pandai.org?
When we left our jobs, we wasted no time registering Arden Corporation which includes four subsidiaries – Arden Technology Sdn Bhd, Arden Consultation Sdn Bhd & Arden Marketing Solution Sdn Bhd. Okay, this part, I must admit, is a bit crazy. We skipped the process of registering our company as an enterprise – which is a sensible entrepreneurship step. Metaphorically speaking, it was like skipping the pool and jumping right into the ocean upon learning how to swim.
We had no substantive offerings (be it products or services) at that time. With Arden Education & Consultancy, we sold gamified learning programmes related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (or in short, STEM). Till today, Arden Edu is still up and running and we continue to manage it well as part of our ventures, on top of what we do here at Pandai.org.
Compared to our Pandai app, Arden Edu is non-tech and focuses on fundamental teaching methods. Also, it has always been customised to the rather elite student segments since its early years. Despite Arden Edu’s business performing well back then, we felt the need to make our learning offerings inclusive to all student segments – despite them being elite students or not. Doing so was key for us to help change our students’ lives for the better, regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
This is how our Pandai app became Arden Edu’s extension and aimed to make education fun, personalised and best suited for all student types – rather than it being a one-fit-all learning solution.
Since Ardent Edu’s inception in 2007, I continue to serve (till now) as its Managing Director. I recalled back then we went on various tours and roadshows at schools nationwide and organised national competitions in STEM. It was exhausting but we found joy in doing so as it enabled us to better understand how students react to our learning modules and it helps to enhance our legitimacy as a trusted name in education startups.
Back then, I have always focused on education content creation, and trained others to run competitions to foster a healthy competition mindset among students. It was just the three of us running Arden Edu from the ground up, every day, and we only hired our first staff, Izzati three years later. Till today, Izzati is still with Arden Edu and she is currently a part of our team.
After 10 years of driving Arden Edu’s growth, we finally a great synergy in what we call the ‘X-Factor’ of education mixed with the ‘Y-Factor’ of tech. In a nutshell, Pandai.org is not an accidental idea. It is a logical culmination of our work at ArdentEdu for the past 15 years, as well as my work in the mathematical education community.
I have a slightly similar story with other partners. I led Arden Technologies and I recalled providing website-building services for just 500 ringgits! We went door-to-door to get buy-ins by printing pamphlets to promote our website-building offerings. Some of this humbled episode of our journey includes building tech for diverse folks – from small to big-scale businesses across government agencies, and various corporations.
Simply said, we went where the money goes to grow our business – just like any other start-up out there. Also, in that very first year upon founding Arden Edu, we achieved a breakthrough success! We were approached by a state government to conduct a state-wide STEM development programme, focusing on top schools and top state students. We quickly assembled a team and closed a deal worth half a million ringgit with the state government.
This was a large sum of money for us back then. We were three 25 years old chaps who have just founded a new company, with a tiny office (more like a broom closet), with little-to-no savings at all. To close a deal this size in our first year was something we would consider divine intervention. Whenever we recalled how much we’d grown with Arden, we stopped second-guessing our decisions to resign from our corporate jobs to pursue our true calling to become education entrepreneurs.
What are some existing pain points that the Pandai app is trying to solve for its target audience and help improve the country’s education system?
Although I feel that our education system is moving in the right direction, we still have a lot more work to do – especially in empowering teachers as its key players. We need to invest more in teachers’ upskilling and reskilling to fit today’s increasingly digitalised world and to accelerate their readiness in unpacking the curriculum for their students. I believe our teachers can do this at a large scale, but there needs to be strong emphasis or an ambitious programme that innovates the way teachers teach. Training teachers traditionally won’t cut it anymore.
After all, our teachers are the backbone of society. They are role models to our children, offer guidance and dedication and unlock our youth’s potential with education. Because of great teachers in the past too, our countries were able to further develop socially and economically and develop great life-changing leaders! Therefore, we want to help improve the status quo for our teachers with our Pandai app.
Simply said, we want them to teach easier and enjoy better engagements with their students. For example, with our app’s question bank, exam generator and class dashboard features for teachers, teachers too can benefit from increasing their students’ attention, curiosity, and optimism by engaging students the ‘Pandai’ way. If you’re keen to find out more about how our teachers have benefitted from our app, head over to our website, and check out reviews from hundreds of our teachers’ user experiences.
While Khairul shared on teachers as our education system’s key players, I’d like to touch on how students learn and our efforts to improve the status quo for them too. Imagine this, when students received their school report cards back then, the report would have little-to-no clear indications of how they can improve. Also, in the conventional education system, teachers are usually overwhelmed in teaching a large class which restricts them from giving personalised learning interventions.
Coupled with the reality that students nowadays are digitally immersed, we can understand why they may easily get disengaged while studying. After all, they are growing up in a digital world filled with distractions or noises. Let’s face it, it is not uncommon for kids nowadays to have tons of screen time. In this regard, we need to find the right balance between capturing their interest to learn and making the process fun, easy and enjoyable.
With our app, we work hard to change our students’ learning journey for the better through our three pillars of ‘learn’, ‘practice’ and ‘progress’. To ensure our students have fun and ‘learn’, we have features such as live tuitions, live help, flashcards, videos, quick notes and interactive experiments.
Meanwhile, to ensure that our students ‘practise’ well, we introduced features such as quizzes & games, topical tests, term exams, automatic answers, step-by-step solutions, and detailed answers. Lastly, we want them to be gung-ho about their ‘progress’ through our features such as score card, report card, detailed analysis, leader board, badges and daily goals.
Personally, this topic feels close to home for me. I’m a father with two kids myself. Most parents out there are eager to be involved with their children’s learning process, and I’m one of them. It’s honestly tough to connect with our kids when what we learnt back then is so much different than what they learn today. At certain times, it can be overwhelming.
Also, just like what Suhaimi said, they are growing up in a vastly different world now. We have also seen first-hand how the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent school closures led to parents assuming full-time roles of educating their children and supporting them to learn virtually. With all these problem statements in mind, we conceptualised Pandai to give the best education solution to our kids so that parents, like us, can also be part of the process and become a strong support system.
This is why parents are our third key player that we continue to emphasise as part of our overall student learning journey from our app. Our mantra for parents is that “supporting your child to succeed in school should not be overwhelming when you do it the ‘Pandai’ way”.
To ensure that parents are well-equipped in this space, we introduced features that enabled them to have access to their children’s dashboards and get regular notifications on their children’s progress. Best of all, with our ‘multiple children’ feature, parents can have visibility of multiple children’s accounts, and experience personalised reporting of how each child is progressing with our app.
In a nutshell, how can the country’s education ecosystem benefit from the Pandai app?
Let’s start first by covering briefly our app’s quality learning content that aligns with our country’s national curriculum from the Ministry of Education. We create the module by topics and sub-topics and we even include an additional section on comprehension level for our learning module. On top of these, our app has Artificial Intelligence-generated learning, with detailed explanations to assist struggling students to understand specific questions of interest.
On another note, our personalised learning is more than just a buzzword. It means that we ensure our student’s learning journey is based on individual capabilities and progress. As we were students once, we reflected on our experience while studying, especially how all of us responded differently to education. When we design our students’ learning journey or roadmap, we know by heart that personalisation is the game-changing element for our students to excel and thrive.
Some examples of our personalised learning features for our student users include ‘live tuition’ where they can learn real-time from experienced tutors and ‘live help’ where they can chat with our tutors to help them with homework. To ensure quality content and personalised learning, our many content team members work around the clock to deliver to ensure that our users enjoy the most value for every ringgit spent on our app.
I know I’ve mentioned it just now, but I’d like to add more to the significance of our detailed report card feature. Before that, let’s reflect on why the report card is an important learning tool and must be used rightly. A report card is usually the parameter of how one performs, based on prescribed grade levels.
With our detailed report card feature, we ensure that our reports are not just simple scorings of how our users perform. In contrast, we go above and beyond to identify areas of improvement for our students. This includes a detailed analysis of our student’s strengths and weaknesses for their selected topics.
Just like how children felt emotionally connected to their video game characters upon seeing reports of how their characters progress, we want them to have the same emotional connection with their real-life learning experience in our app.
On another note, our topical test ensures that our student users’ knowledge is tested on specific topics till they gradually achieve mastery. Meanwhile, our topical exams prepare them for the real exam with time-based summative assessments.
As Khairul and Suhaimi have both shared a lot about our app’s value propositions, I’ll briefly touch on our gamified quiz. Our gamified quiz encourages our students to practise by answering quizzes and challenging themselves to beat their scores. This is a feature that makes our app stands out and attractive to our student users and it is essential!
After all, gamification in learning is a positive addiction that promotes knowledge retention. For example, when our brain wants to reward us, it releases dopamine into our bodies, so when we win a game or achieve something important to us, we feel good. This is the ‘feel-good feeling’ we want to create for our students when learning with our app. We want it to be a rewarding experience for them! Oh, speaking about rewards, here’s a fun fact for you!
Our in-app “gamified” learning also includes features such as avatars, leaderboards, and coins which are redeemable with real-life video game vouchers such as Roblox! On top of these, we also cater to our students who want to prepare for competitions. With our in-app’s tutors that are experts in their fields, we continue to increase our students’ readiness for their competitions and enrich their overall learning experience.
Just like how Suhaimi excelled and proudly represented our country during his MRSM Tun Ghafar Baba days, we want to create the same effect by providing a great support system for competitions in our app.
When the Pandai app was created in January 2020, it only has less than 500 registered students. Less than two years later (now), you have 400,000+ registered students. What led to the Pandai app’s rapid growth?
To be frank, we’re blessed that our Pandai app was started on the right footing – right before the pandemic hits. If you could recall during the pandemic, thousands of students were forced to stay at home, and this was an unprecedented disruption for our schools. Coupled with the varying government movement restrictions imposed and the closure of schools, I think our key players (our students, teachers and parents) naturally gravitated towards an online learning platform like ours. Also, in the thick of the pandemic, schools encourage virtual learning from home or what we would call PDPR in Malaysia.
We realised then that our key players need an alternative platform that is practical to increase knowledge based on the national curriculum yet interactive to ensure learning continuity. The pandemic has brought with it a strong need for accelerating digital readiness among organisations and our schools. Learning and digital integration are no longer optional, it is a must. This is how our app stood up and became the online learning solution that everyone needs to thrive.
Yes, our Pandai app has helped close to 500,000 Malaysian students to-date practise and complete over 1 million questions since January 2020. However, we won’t rest on our laurels just yet. We will remain steadfast to continue being the positive disruptor in education for our communities, promoting innovative reform in how digitalised learning becomes the new normal for all of us.
Just to add to what Khairul said on how we started on the right footing during the pandemic, we designed our app’s offering back then to best suit students from all backgrounds. To get the buy-in of the online learning market, we offered the app for free to users in our first year. This led to a few hundred users signing up for it and there’s no trial period for this free version. Usually, if you go to the app store, you’ll see that users will enjoy a free version for up to a month or sometimes, an even shorter period of 14 days.
However, we don’t want to just profit blindly from our users, and get all of them to pay up, especially in 2020 when everyone was just learning how to cope with the pandemic. We wanted them to understand that we are here because we genuinely care about their user experience and learning takeaways when using our app. It was the right thing to do for us. Only after our first year, we offered more extensive content to suit students’ personalised learning needs – with our premium lite version at RM30 monthly and our premium version at RM96 monthly.
Despite transitioning into a paid-for version of our app, we still retain our basic version of the app for free to help underserved students and give back to our communities. In our free basic version of the app, we still have all high-quality education features, ten levels of quizzes and a report card summary of how students perform.
Our Pandai app became a big hit with our users because our learning content is well aligned with our national education curriculum. We worked very closely with the State Education Department and the Ministry of Education to ensure that our tools are relevant and aligned for our users’ benefits. On top of these, our users are also aligned and bought-in into our social impact philosophy that education is for all.
We believe in democratising learning to ensure that every Malaysian child gets access to quality education. We are committed to empowering children in the most remote area and underserved communities through our tech-driven learning programmes. We live in exciting times where digital enablers give us the chance to make education inclusive, regardless of a children’s geography, cultural frameworks or readiness to infrastructures like schools and transport.
Education will drive social improvement, especially among the young – which is why we work hard to deliver learning opportunities to children regardless of where there are. Just to share with you how rural schools and their students are benefitting from our app, we had a rural school coming on top in our school leaderboard last year. This was indeed a great revelation for us, and we know that we are gradually moving in the right steps to make education empowering with its life-changing benefits for all our users.
What are some challenges that Pandai hopes to overcome to ensure more Malaysian teachers and students can benefit from it?
There are various key challenges for us in Pandai in terms of marketing our digital learning solutions to the masses. Firstly, is the issue of device unavailability and low internet coverage that affects our students from getting the most out of our app.
This is a fundamental issue that affects most students’ acceptance and transition into online-based learning even today, especially those staying in rural areas. We remembered when schools or learning institutions were coping with the pandemic while ensuring learning continuity, there were some cases where students were left out or even had to go to extreme measures of climbing trees for a stable network to undergo examinations.
As we strive to make our app beneficial for all types of students with our digitalised learning solutions, we went above and beyond to ensure that students with a lack of internet access can still learn. With these in mind, we came out with an offline version of the app for our users to download its many learning features from wherever they can and use them to continue learning at home – if they don’t have access to the Internet.
On top of these, we are also actively collaborating with foundations or corporations that are willing to sponsor or subsidise tablets to our users, especially to the types of students who need them the most.
With our Pandai app, we want to be the positive disruptor that enables the education system to use gamification as a prominent part of learning. There are so many benefits of gamification that our communities, especially the masses, are not aware of. It is an innovative concept that is used widely in higher learning institutions, and some organisations that I know too are looking to gamify their employee upskilling experience.
Learning through gamification allows learners to see the real-world applications and benefits of the subject matter. They are also able to get a first-hand look at how their choices within the game result in consequences or rewards.
Regardless of your audience or subject matter, learning through gamification can help you to create exciting, educational, and entertaining content. It’s not meant to turn learning into a game per se, but it does contribute immensely to the users’ psychology that drives engagement and fulfilment.
With this in mind, we made significant improvements to personalisation in our gamification section. This is to identify the students’ capability in pinpointing the challenges and motivate them through heightened excitement while learning! Hopefully, with us pushing hard with gamified learning experience with our app, it will inspire more players in the digital space learning ecosystem and our education system will also benefit from it.
Just to probe further on to what Khairul said earlier about enhancing device readiness for our users to use Pandai to its full potential, our tech team work hard to ensure that our app can work across different platforms, be it desktop, and across android as well as apple mobile devices.
Not only that, but during our user acceptance testing process, we realise that some of our users might have low Internet bandwidth. They might not have home WiFi and rely on their postpaid data to access our app – or they could be in a location with a lack of internet coverage. Also, we understand that sometimes our users might come from underserved families that do not own many devices, as there are cases where students had to use only one phone to use our app.
To ensure seamlessness among our students’ and parents’ experience when using our app, we also enable interchangeability between both users’ accounts on our app. That way, we don’t leave anyone behind, and we fully harness our team’s tech capabilities to deliver next-level learning solutions for all types of users. Best of all, our tech team are always gung-ho about our app’s user interface and user experience, as we want to reduce clutter and make our students learning experience simplified and engaging.
Can you share a bit about the major initiatives that Pandai is working on or any of its recent milestones?
I’m humbled and proud to share that our Pandai app has received many noteworthy recognitions as well as awards and achieved many milestones. Statistically, 92% of our users have observed academic performance after using our Pandai app for two months.
As a testament that our students love to use Pandai, we’re pleased to share that we have 1 million questions completed by them monthly and they spent an average of 57 minutes on our app daily. Since the Pandai app’s inception in January 2020, it has had over 168 million learning activities completed to date. Meanwhile, on the recognition and awards fronts, I’m pleased to share that we have received many local and international awards.
One of the most renowned recognitions for us includes our acceptance into Y Combinator, which is an American technology start-up accelerator launched in March 2005. Y Combinator has been used to launch more than 3,000 companies, including Airbnb, Coinbase, Cruise, DoorDash, Dropbox, Instacart, Quora, PagerDuty, Reddit, Stripe and Twitch. We were the second Malaysian start-up that was accepted to join them, apart from 16,000+ start-ups’ globally which are backed by global investors.
All these are great results for us, but we do not wish to settle just yet. This is a great benchmark to have but we aim to get the numbers higher and have better benefit traction for our users when using our app moving forward. On top of these, we hope to raise the bar of excellence for our team further so that we can proudly represent Malaysia as a prominent life-changing edutech across the Region one day.
As Khairul has shared mostly on our accolades, I would like to specifically cover the Pandai@School programme that we’re embarking on. The said programme was financed through the National Technology & Innovation Sandbox (in short, NTIS), a commercialised grant by the Malaysian government as part of its short-term recovery plan announced in June 2020.
This grant was spearheaded by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation with the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology & Innovation as its Secretariat. Back then, Pandai.org won this grant in collaboration with the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation. Okay now that you’ve known more about the programme’s backstory, let’s deep dive more into how it works from the onset. For this programme, we had 200 primary school students in Keramat’s State Education Office selected to join and receive six-month free access to our full premium features.
There are 40 students from each of the five schools represented since September 2022, and we also provide tablets and booklets to the students to help them with their digital learning experiences. These five schools include SK Dato Keramat 2, SK Padang Tembak, SK Convent Bukit Nenas 1, SK Wangsa Jaya and SK Taman Melati. In a nutshell, we want to validate the effectiveness of digital learning in a supportive and student-centred environment with our Pandai@school programme.
We also want to collect data on student performance and behaviour upon using our digital learning platforms and their many features. Lastly, we want to provide a working model for a comprehensive implementation of digital learning in schools, and these five schools’ outcomes will be a good case study for everyone to learn from.
I’d like to share more about my reflection on how our Pandai app has impacted the lives or outlooks of our users. I recalled this heart-warming story when we went to Sekolah Padang Tembak where the students mostly have military parents.
It was a great moment for me because although we were supposed to organise a handover tablet ceremony for the students there, their parents also came along to show their support for this initiative. Some of them even went up to me and said that they requested leave and that they’re glad that we went all the way there to enable their children to get tablets for them to get up-to-speed with digital learning.
There is also another fond story I recall when my mom, who was a teacher for many years, forwarded a text message from her friend whose son is a proud user of Pandai. In that text message, I read that my mom’s son has managed to learn a lot with our Pandai app and it has helped him to perform better at school.
From time to time, I like to go back to our website to see personalised reviews received from our students, teachers and parents. Their positive testimonies on how our app has helped foster great learning interest and result-driven changes are great reminders of why we need to continue to go above and beyond for them.
Briefly, share with us a reflection on how your journey has been with Pandai and what’s next for you.
As much as the three of us have used the word ‘life-changing’ to describe our Pandai app’s effect towards our users, we have also experienced the same effect too. From our MRSM to Arden Education days and now to our endeavours with Pandai.org, we are blessed that our long-lasting friendship has enabled us to create immense value to ensure our communities reap the benefits of proper education.
With this journey of ours, we find ourselves learning more every day and we’re thankful to have like-minded individuals to work with us and believe in our sense of purpose. With our Pandai app, we don’t want to just benefit students in Malaysia. We want to go regional and inspire many communities to have their young members adept at learning with digital enablers.
A few months back, we launched Pandai app in Brunei and we’re already making huge efforts to map our learning content to be granular so that it can be flexible and align well with any country’s learning curriculum. There is a huge opportunity for the Pandai app to benefit many users across many countries with emerging markets. Just to share a few examples, the Philippines has 2 million students, Thailand has 10 million students and Bangladesh has 24 million students.
The stars are the limit for us, and we can assure you one thing – we’ll do everything we can to realise our mission to transform the learning space with technology.
I’m committed to my position as mentioned earlier, and I’m blessed to be able to go through this opportunity to build Pandai.org into what it is today with my lifelong friends, Khairul and Akmal. I’ve learnt a lot from Pandai.org since the onset and I have also made mistakes that helped me grow. These are parts and parcels of my learning journey here and I’m glad to know that I’ve great team members who are resilient and strong believers in our cause.
We do not want to be the next unicorn start-up just for the sake of achieving great profitability from selling our products. Deep down, we know that we have a big responsibility to fill in line with our growing influence in our education system and our communities. Therefore, every day, we continue to remind ourselves why we are here and why we do what we do – in line with our social mission to foster a learning community that drives social improvements.
Speaking of social impact, we’re proud to share that Pandai.org is a proud participant in the Social Impact Challenge Accelerator, organised by the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme. As mentioned earlier, we are passionate about changing the fate of students out there. After all, education changes lives and can help break the vicious cycle of poverty among communities.
Again, I’m going to tell you that as a father of two children, I’m invested in what I do here at Pandai beyond ringgits and sens – because I believe truly in our vision of Equipping today’s young minds for tomorrow. I see the effect of what I do with the Pandai app not only to change my children’s lives for the better with our digital learning solutions but also millions of other parents’ children out there.
The journey thus far has been rewarding and I could not have been more thankful to be able to go through it with Khairul and Suhaimi, whom I have known for the past 25 years. Statistically, we currently have close to 500,000 student users, that’s not even 10% of the whole 5 million Malaysian students. Hopefully, we can get more students to benefit from our app here and in other countries.
Our app’s growth is on the right track and hopefully, we can reach more students and benefit them all with our interactive yet immersive learning features. Coupled with the trend where we see most students are losing interest in education as of late, we hope to continue to be the positive disruptor in the industry to reignite their passion towards education.
Just like Nelson Mandela said once that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. In line with this belief, we’ll remain steadfast in supporting children to reach their full potential with our app. Thank you for your continuous support in our journey, and we hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know what we do here at Pandai.org.
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