Taylor's University has decided to explore the harsh realities afflicting communities in Malaysia when it comes to education this Deepavali. Its latest short film begins with a suspicious-looking protagonist named Raju, who looks towards a handphone shop where the shopkeeper was talking to a vendor with a trolley of boxes filled with smartphones. As Raju attempts to steal one of the smartphones, he is caught by the shopkeeper, who is later nicknamed as "Uncle" in the film.

Facing the interrogation from the shopkeeper, Raju explained that he stole the phone to attend classes. In the following scenes to come, the film explores the kindness Uncle gave to Raju, as he allows the boy to study in the shop, offers a headset for him to concentrate better during the lessons. 

According to Ben Foo, Taylor's University Group CMO, he said as educators, they want students to be able to discuss sensitive topics that are centred in their own values and those of their classmates. "Similarly, we reflect this notion through our festive films recognising the importance of these discussions to understand the underlying struggles, in order to tackle the root cause of the problem," he said. Comparing the film to last year's Deepavali ad Curious Kumar , Foo added that this latest ad faced various challenges as the team decided to take more risks by touching on real human and cultural insights which can be controversial.

Aside from invoking a sense of awakening on pressing societal issues, Foo told A+M that three campaigns were rolled out to educate consumers on the topic of unequal access to education. Realising there was a need to make online learning more accessible, the university's students launched a social entrepreneurship initiative, DuckiePi. According to Foo, DuckiePi is a portable learning device that helps bridge children’s access to online classes and resources. To help children from low-income families, Taylor's also launched the Project Baca Baca  campaign where students from the university volunteered to read to underserved children.

"These student-mentors are professionally trained by academics from Taylor’s School of Education with competent teaching and learning skills to ensure that teaching quality is upheld," explained Foo. Lastly, Taylor's launched the RISE Educator Award to celebrate teachers who have made an impact on the lives of students in Malaysia, allowing parents and students to nominate teachers who have inspired them.

This is not the first time Taylor's University has presented a festive ad that tugged at the heartstrings of consumers . In May this year, the university released a Hari Raya ad titled Maaf which told the story of a father apologising to his children over his perceived failures to adequately provide for his family. The video starts with a downcast tone and establishes that the main character as a single father, who instead of participating in the usual session of his children asking his forgiveness during Hari Raya, turns the tables and asks their forgiveness instead.

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Taylor's University provokes thought with controversial questions this Deepavali


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