The Cempaka Story via FSSH Adjunct Professor Lecture Dato’ Freida Mohd Pilus

Prepared by: Dr. Noorzana Khamis, Prof. Dr. Fatin Aliah Phang and Dr. Noor Dayana Halim

Again, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH), had organized another special, inspiring, and insightful Adjunct Professor Lecture via FSSH Facebook Live on 9th September 2020. All UTM staff and students were able to listen to the legacy of Cempaka School and its excellence.

In this series, Dato’ Freida Mohd Pilus, who is the founder of Cempaka School, had shared the challenges and adventures that she had faced in the journey to set up the prestigious private and international school franchise. Dato’ Freida is also recognized as UTM FSSH Adjunct Professor for her expertise and achievement in setting up schools.

Dato’ Freida had served the government sector for 13 years before she resigned and started the private school. By establishing Cempaka School in 1983, she started the school for her children in desiring to give the best education for them. Cempaka School emphasizes the values of hard work, academic excellence, and nurturing children to make a difference. The three mottos of the school are ‘bersatu (united), berdisiplin (discipline), berdikari (independence)’. It becomes the identity of Cempakan and the strengths for them after they graduated.

In developing her first school, she started to set up the school at a bungalow in Damansara where she spent most of her time there. Sometimes she became the cleaner and driver of the school for her students. She also used to borrow money and made a loan to develop her school and provide salaries to the school teachers. Then, she was very determined to develop the Cempaka School until she pushed herself to open other branches.

As the President of the Malaysian Society of Education Administration and Management (MSEAM), she has a wealth of experience in private education in Malaysia. Known as a crazy ambitious woman in developing the Cempaka School, she did everything for the school including marketing, publicities, public relations, administration, teaching, taking children to school, interviewing the teachers, and training them.

Dato’ Freida loves to challenge her students’ minds and make them love to learn. She also reminded her students to look after the schools’ reputation so that the students will keep the Cempakan identity and become its strong backbones. During the session, FSSH students and lecturers asked many questions to Dato’ Freida especially on how the schools grew and became a household name in private education in Malaysia.

At the end of the session, Dato’ Freida mentioned that the biggest examination is the examination of life, not the schools’ examination. She also said that spending on education is a good investment.

She was so delighted in delivering the lecture and looking forward to another lecture session in the future. This sharing can be reached through this link https://www.facebook.com/367141090487913/videos/2758881364367841 which managed by the SoE Studio Task Force of School of Education comprises Dr. Noor Dayana Abdul Halim, Dr Chuzairy Hanri, Dr. Nina Diana Nawi, and Dr. Noorzana Khamis.

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