Leading Change in a Pandemic: Agility Builds Resilience

Valuable Lessons from INCS and Kindie World

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent Movement Control Order (MCO) has disrupted business operations throughout Malaysia, but not so for the Integrated National Curriculum Schools (INCS) and Kindie World. Leading with foresight and agility, CEO Jenny Sim saw opportunity in crisis and transformed how our children learn.

Prior to the MCO, Morphos International has been working closely with INCS and Kindie World as a Strategic People Partner to nurture agility and resilience in the organisation. Headquartered in Singapore with international reach into Malaysia and China, Morphos International had firsthand information on the potential severity of the epidemic and worked with our coaches to deliver content on hygiene and health management, crisis response, and business continuity planning.

Prompted by Coach Louis Chin to take extra precautions and to devise a business continuity plan, the management team of INCS and Kindie World, comprising of CEO Jenny Sim, INCS President S.P. Lee and Mr. Cecil, took immediate action to put together a 36-page “Internal Guideline for Preventive Measures and Action in Managing Covid-19”. This guide provided clear procedures such as “What to do if there is a confirmed case?”, “How to disinfect the school?”, “Students & Continuity of Lessons”, and “HR Guidelines”, among others.

Knowing that plans are ultimately carried out by people, the guidelines were communicated through to the teachers and staff, incorporating their input and encouraging ownership.

Mr. Cecil leading the discussion on the setting up of the Interactive Online Learning System

Leading by example, INCS President, Ms. S.P. Lee personally led the academic team to prepare the INCS Interactive Online Learning timetable and lesson plans, so that the students could continue learning when the school holiday was over. Mr. Cecil also led a team of teachers and IT professionals to set up the Interactive Online Learning System.

While it seemed that these plans were not likely to be needed at the time of preparation, the Malaysian Prime Minister implemented the Movement Control Order two weeks later.

With the MCO announcement on 16th March 2020, INCS teachers and staff knew what had to be done to help the students.

Passionate to help students learn and push ahead, the INCS teachers spent hours preparing lesson plans for online teaching, even going through mock-teaching sessions to practice classroom management online. Regular time-tables will also have to be readjusted to adjust to the new teaching environment. Swapping the whiteboard for a webcam, the teachers are the frontline fighters to keep our children sharp and disciplined even when learning from home.

Although the transition to the Interactive Online Learning System had its own share of teething problems, the effort made by the management team, teachers and staff ensured that the students were still able to “return” to school after the March holidays, to see their friends and to learn from their teachers.

Teaching children of a younger age group, Kindie World faced greater challenges in adapting pedagogy to online learning. With shorter attention spans and a greater need for kinesthetic development, Kindie World teachers had to think out of the box to create a fun and interactive programme that incorporated parents as assistants to help the little ones learn. That would not have been possible if not for the early planning and communication led by the management team at INCS and Kindie World.

As part of its business continuity plans, the Open Day event initially scheduled for March 28, 2020 was transformed into a virtual event involving virtual tours of the school paired with digital friendly collaterals. Education consultants also met up with interested parents through digital platforms and parents can also sign up for free trial lessons on the INCS Interactive Online Learning System.

In times of uncertainty, the agile will remain resilient. INCS and Kindie World have shown that organisations can transform and adapt, if the people are agile.

“In times of crisis, let us be grateful of what we have, let us support one another, and work as a team to get through the tough times. Remember, together we will overcome.” – Jenny Sim, CEO, INCS and Kindie World.