Malaysian Youths’ Outlook on Their Digital Readiness

Apr 28, 2022 9 Min Read
Youths are our future
Source:Leaderonomics Community
Leaderonomics Community 2022 Survey Findings

Early in Q1 of 2022, Leaderonomics Community & the MAD (Make A Difference) Movement launched a 4-part survey with each targeting different audiences: Youths, Educational Institutions, Corporate CSR Leaders, and NGOs / Non-Profits.
The intention of the survey includes:
●     Collecting real time insights that would contribute to the building and direction of Leaderonomics Community leadership programmes.
●     Creating awareness in expanding the accessibility of such programmes amongst Malaysian young adults and youths — especially the B40 communities.  
●     Providing perspective on current challenges faced and ways forward to address these based on insights gained from stakeholders involved in academics, Corporate CSR initiatives or NGO initiatives pertaining to youth development.

The 4-part survey had an overarching theme around Digital Readiness with each having a specific focus relevant to each target audience:
●     Leadership Development for Youths,
●     Educational Programmes & Co-Curricular Activities for Educational Institutions,
●     CSR Initiatives for Corporate CSR Leaders,
●     Community Engagement Strategies for NGOs.
Overall, the survey garnered responses from over 400 youths across the ages of 13 to 25 years; 21 educational representatives from schools, colleges, and universities across 11 states of Malaysia; 15 Corporate CSR Leaders representing Malaysian businesses in some key industries such as financial services, and property investment & development; and 4 representatives from Malaysia-based NGOs / Non-Profits.  

Youth Survey

Insights gathered from the Youth Survey reveals common struggles faced by youths in online learning sessions. Majority of respondents are local Malaysians of which 80% agree that digital readiness is crucial to leadership development. However, half of the aggregate (50%) identified having limited exposure or access to digital means such as devices or other online tools.

Some of the key findings from the Youth survey include:

Lack of motivation — 52% of youths find it difficult to stay motivated during online learning sessions.

Lack of reliable internet connection — 46% of youths do not have access to stable internet.

Lack of conducive space for learning — 36% of youths attend online learning sessions in a non-conducive environment.

Lack of access to devices — 21% of youths lack access to devices for online learning.

Lack experience in online learning — 19% of youths lack experience in online learning.

Educational Institutions Survey

At 62%, the majority of representatives from educational institutions indicated blended teaching (combination of virtual & physical) as the preferred approach. However, many still struggle to effectively deliver education and co-curricular activities via digital platforms. Comparing insights from both the youth and educational institutions surveys, certain findings stand out to suggest a possible underlying connection between the struggles that educators face with poor student engagement and the lack of motivation experienced by youths during online learning.

Some of the key findings from the Educational Institutions survey include:

Lack of reliable internet connection — 90% of educators struggle with internet instability resulting in interference of digital education.

Lack of access to devices — 62% of educators lack access to proper equipment and devices needed for teaching online.

Increased workload — 43% of educators experience increased workload that is likely linked to inefficiency due to various key findings such as poor internet connection or lack of digital teaching strategies.

Poor student engagement — 43% of educators struggle with having positive engagement with their students on a digital platform.

Lack of funding for digital education — 38% of educators or educational institutions do not have proper funding that would enable them to utilise digital tools effectively for digital education.           

Lack knowledge of digital teaching strategies — 33% of educators are not properly trained on digital teaching strategies that could enhance their online teaching capabilities or skills.         

Difficulty integrating e-learning materials physically — 29% of educators find it burdensome to combine e-learning materials with physical teaching strategies. 

Lack ways to assess online student learning — 10% of educators are unsure of ways to assess student learning via digital means.

Corporate CSR Leaders Survey

Among the Malaysian companies that responded to this survey, the top three common CSR goals include:
●     Social Impact: Education Enrichment & Development,
●     Environment, Social Impact & Compliance,
●     Corporate Philanthropy.
Overall, the majority of Corporate CSR Leaders and their companies (80%) recognise the importance of utilising digital technology and implementing this into their CSR initiatives. Furthermore, there are some efforts to instil digital readiness among their target audience through the provision of online resources (73%) and digital tools (33%) and organising digital skills workshops (73%).
However, where corporate efforts are involved in youth engagement which falls under social impact, insights from the youth survey indicate that the identified efforts to instil digital readiness may not be sufficient. Adopting digital transformation for CSR initiatives will not be an easy task when different stakeholders are involved with set objectives and needs to be met.

Related: Why Giving Back Makes You A Better Business Leader

Some of the key findings from the Corporate CSR Leaders survey include:

Budget concerns & constraints — 80% of Corporate CSR Leaders struggle with ensuring that their CSR initiatives stay within the budget whilst meeting the company’s objectives and target group’s needs. 
Finding the right vendors — 40% of Corporate CSR Leaders struggle to identify the right vendors that could meet overall objectives and needs regarding implementing digital technology in CSR initiatives.
Reaching a wide target group — 33% of Corporate CSR Leaders lack ways of reaching a wide target group via digital means.
Difficulty measuring ROI of digital CSR initiatives — 33% of Corporate CSR Leaders are not confident of implementing digital technology in CSR initiatives due to difficulty of measuring ROIs.
Resistance to digital transformation & adoption — 27% of Corporate CSR Leaders experience resistance from internal and/or external stakeholders regarding digital transformation and adoption.         

NGOs / Non-Profits Survey

The NGOs or Non-Profits that responded to the survey were involved in one or more of the following sectors of community engagement:
●     Education,
●     Childcare & Family Support,
●     Health,
●     Environment.
Most of the target beneficiaries of these NGOs come from vulnerable backgrounds and are usually wholly dependent on these organisations for support in the areas identified above. Although the adoption of digital technology and tools could make community engagement initiatives or processes more efficient, these may not necessarily be of highest priority when the basic needs of the target groups may not be sufficiently met.

Some of the key findings from the NGOs / Non-Profits survey include:

Limited IT expertise — 100% of NGOs experience difficulty in hiring IT-skilled employees who have the right expertise to manage virtual community engagement.  
Lack of IT expenses — 50% of NGOs lack the funding needed that would enable IT-related expenses such as investment in digital tools or technology. 
Concern for data security — 25% of NGOs are concerned about data security especially when dealing with communities that come from vulnerable backgrounds. 
Difficulty establishing trust with the community — 25% of NGOs struggle to establish trust within the community with regard to the adoption of digital technology for engagement.

Read the Full Report here

Way Forward

Based on the findings, efforts should focus on increasing youths’ awareness of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that could aid in their academics and skills development. With digital literacy as a key skill in this time of digital transformation, it is crucial for youths and young adults to be in an environment that encourages and enables such learning and growth.

Furthermore, leadership skill development has also been identified to be an important foundation — being one of the key drivers to other successes.
Regarding challenges pertaining to online learning, there needs to be a top-down involvement that could drive the implementation of digital tools in educational programmes and co-curricular activities. The approach should start with the provision of digital tools and resources, and digital skills training for educators.

The infrastructure of the classroom and entire school should also be considered for effective delivery of online learning — be it via a fully physical, virtual or blended environment.

Corporate CSR Leaders and their companies who are passionate about developing younger generations could invest in digital skills workshops that make full use of the blended learning approach by maintaining high engagement levels with physical sessions whilst supplementing such with digital tools and resources to enhance learning.

Partnerships with key stakeholders such as the right vendors have also been identified to be crucial in achieving a win-win scenario for both companies’ CSR objectives and target groups’ needs.

Related: Leadership in Volunteering

At Leaderonomics Community & the MAD Movement, we are constantly building an ecosystem that provides lifelong learning opportunities and leadership development for youths with the support of stakeholders such as educators and Corporate CSR Leaders.

Also, not forgetting the partnerships with NGOs that provide us access to some of their vulnerable communities — such as the B40 group.

Our 6-year partnership with Hap Seng Group in particular has enabled us to grow over 400 youth leaders within some of the remote communities in Sabah whilst extending and expanding the Group’s social responsibility initiatives. The engagement model is designed to raise levels of leadership competency among youth, build community stakeholder capacity, and activate organic community cohesion. Initially starting off as physical programmes, the pandemic had seen a whole transformation of the instalment with virtual deliveries throughout 2020 and 2021, and now anticipating a blended type delivery for 2022 — all while maintaining the Group’s community engagement framework and objectives.

This case study truly signifies our mission to grow people into leaders, build communities of love, and ultimately transform the nation.

 You may like this too: Living Our Values

About LeaderonomicsCommunity: Leaderonomics Community is a social enterprise that engages kids, youths and campus-level students through programmes such as Camps, Clubs, Courses, and Conventions/Summits. In 2020, many initiatives went virtual and they now offer customised programmes to meet the needs of their customers.

Editor's note: For more information or if you want to volunteer your time towards this dynamic endeavour to help transform the nation, reach out to Leaderonomics Community at

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This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 

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