[DESYM 2019] Direct English Symposium 2019]: Technology, Trends & Education.

[DESYM 2019] Direct English Symposium 2019]: Technology, Trends & Education.

Today we are travelling to a different yet familiar place. We’re venturing into the classrooms that set the foundation for everyone’s tomorrow.


Learning is indeed a lifelong journey, regardless of age. And, that’s why today, we are exploring borderless classrooms and sharing some of the highlights from the DESYM 2019 symposium, a very insightful education-related event.  

What is DESYM 2019?

DESYM2019, the acronym for Direct English SYMposium, was held on 11 September 2019, with the theme English and Education 4.0. Direct English Malaysia organised the event with Melewar Learning Resources and their partner St John’s International School, at St Johns International School in Kuala Lumpur.

DESYM2019 - Direct English SYMposium 2019.

The symposium was Direct English’s second iteration of this annual event, which serves as a platform for English-learning experts, ministry officials, academics, corporate leaders, practitioners, businesses, vendor partners, educational service providers, and English-language enthusiasts to share their views and exchange ideas about bringing the best English-learning experiences to Malaysia.

This year, just as with the previous one, was a huge success and featured a distinguished panel of guest speakers and representatives from the public and private sectors.

What Did You Do at DESYM 2019?

The presentations, seminars and topics discussed centred on English and Education 4.0. Education 4.0 was new to me (as I imagine it might be for some of you), so I spent most of my time learning about Education 4.0, including its main objectives, the framework it uses, some of its critical initiatives, and what Education 4.0 means to Malaysian students. I’ll go into more detail about what I learned, in a bit.

Highlights of DESYM 2019.

Melewar Group’s Executive Chairman, YM Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar Bin Tunku Abdullah, kicked off DESYM2019 with a heartfelt welcome address. It was through his introduction that I realized that the audience in the event hall came from diverse backgrounds but had the same objectives.

DESYM2019 - Melewar Group’s Executive Chairman welcomes all the guests.

Next was another warm welcome from the CEO of Linguaphone Group UK, Mr Derek Price, who later also launched the Direct English Live!

The symposium was officiated by Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Education, YB Teo Nie Ching. She discussed the current education technologies, trends, and the English language reform plan in Malaysia.

I heard the phrase ‘Education 4.0’ mentioned numerous times, and the deputy minister’s speech – along with the speech by Malaysia’s Chair for the English Language Standards and Quality Council, Dr Zuraidah Bt Mohd Don – left me mesmerized and clearer about what Education 4.0 meant.

DESYM2019 : Guests of honours.

Here is my take on Education 4.0. It’s a ten-year reform program with the aim of making the English language levels of Malaysian students on par with international standards. To get here, the Ministry of Education is adopting and enhancing the existing European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and delivering  change and implementation plans across the various Malaysian education platforms to achieve its goals. Some of the changes we will see in the next few years include the use of more technology and innovative solutions in classrooms, as well as enhanced learning materials that will take students’ thinking out of the classrooms and into the broader world. By ensuring there are well-trained teachers and practitioners, the implementation plan targets all school levels nationwide. The program is supported by a very dedicated team to oversee its effective implementation.

Dr Zuraidah’s words are still fresh in my mind: “If we teach the way we were taught yesterday, we rob our children of their tomorrow”. That is why there are so many initiatives to bring more modern, state-of-the-art technology and materials to classrooms today.

Dr Zuraidah also emphasised the importance of learning through communicating. Education 4.0 is a holistic plan with integrated programs, target stakeholders, and a set schedule and delivery plan. Everyone is part of this program – students, parents, corporations, practitioners, education providers, sponsors, well-wishers, and you and me. As Dr Zuraidah said, “The heart tells us we care enough to do it. . . . We teach, we support, we listen”.

DESYM2019 - We care!

There were many exciting and entertaining sessions led by well-known speakers from various industries. They shared with us their experiences, touching on topics relevant to today’s educational environment and connecting them back to Education 4.0. The speakers for the day included Dato Steve Day (Founder and CEO of Vision Four Media Group),  Francis Xavier (Co-Founder & CTO Live Tutor Solutions Inc) Dr Bridget Lim Suk Han (Head, Assessment & Evaluation  Department, Institute Aminuddin Baki, Sabah Campus), and Mark Simpson (Business Development Manager, Linguaphone Group UK). 

DESYM2019 - official signing ceremony with partners.

It was not just a day of talks – which were whacky and fun, by the way. (I didn’t want some of those speeches to end!) We also witnessed the official signing ceremony of partnership deals between Direct English and their partners.

DESYM2019 - Getting to know the participants.

Did you know that Direct English is today an interactive learning platform? That’s right – Mark Simpson showed us a demo of Direct English Live!, the learning app available on your mobile. This flexible solution is available everywhere. Students can access Direct English Live! 24/7, at home and around the globe.

DESYM2019 - Presenting certificates.

The event closed with a special three-part presentation showcasing BEST (Be an Excellent STudent) – a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program by Direct English Malaysia in partnership with PINTAR and SMK Kiaramas. This program started in August 2018 to benefit one hundred students and aims to improve the overall English proficiency of participating students, helping them excel in their English SPM examination.

DESYM2019 - BEST: partners and students.

I haven’t forgotten our coffee. We always have one, don’t we? Here is one from at the event and the next few are some shots taken during the breaks.

DESYM2019 - Coffee at the symposium.

DESYM2019 - Lunch break and getting to know more guests.

DESYM2019 - catch-up before the next session.

DESYM2019 - Exchanging views and ideas over lunch.

Every learning mile travelled down the road of learning helps us reach the destination, where there is both knowledge and experience. So, let us all, no matter our walk of life, adopt ways to improve our daily lives and make a positive change for a better tomorrow.  Counting Stars, ReachingDelphi.    

DESYM2019 - students from SMK Kiaramas.

Direct English Malaysia.

Direct English is a well-known education centre with English-language programs and focussed solutions designed for aspirational adults in Malaysia and around the world. Today, Direct English has helped thousands of students worldwide master this global language to achieve their goals. 

The programs at Direct English are specific, target oriented, and skilfully developed by Linguaphone Group, a world-leading language-training provider. 

Direct English Malaysia is under the umbrella of their parent company, Melewar Group, a Malaysian business conglomerate. In Malaysia and the surrounding region, Melewar Learning Resources is at the forefront of delivering English-language training through Direct English. Thousands of learners, from beginners to university students, from young professionals to corporate executives, have benefited from the training conducted by Melewar Learning Resources / Direct English. (1). 

Direct English Malaysia.

Disclosure : Certain products/services mentioned in this post are affiliate links which I may have earned a small commission for my effort to publish this post. This will not incur additional cost to you.


  1. I'm Arina from Marontech. We had a lovely chat during lunch and it was so nice to knowing you! FYI your blog will be in my reading list from now on! Have a great day ahead. p/s: This part; Dr Zuraidah’s words are still fresh in my mind, is so true. It still ringing in my ears and hope we can do something to be part of our students' future.

  2. Hi. I'm Suhaila from I Hakeem. Let’s help more people.