Sunday, April 6, 2014






5th APRIL, 2014

At 3.00 pm.


Assalaamua’laikum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh

And good afternoon to everyone present.


Yang Berbahagia Datin Professor Dr. Amla bin Salleh, Member of the Board of Kumon Malaysia.


Mr. Kenichi Kitao,

Kumon Asia and Oceana;


Mr. Masahiro Takatsu,

General Manager,

Kumon Education Malaysia


Mr. Mitsuo Okabe,

General Manager,

Kumon Support Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd.


Dear Insturctors,


Ladies and gentlemen.


I must first of all

congratulate all of you

for having gone successfully

through another conference.


The conference this time is being held

after the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Toru Kumon,

who is the founder

of the Kumon Method of teaching.


The centenary celebration was held in Yokohama, Japan

on Sunday 16th March, 2014 as it was a convenient public holiday

and the hall at Yokohama city

could accommodate 7,000 Kumon instructors and associates

from 34 countries around the world.

The conference hall is also situated in very strategic vicinity.


The real birthday of Toru Kumon was 26th March, 1914,

in Osaka in the Kochi Prefecture, Japan,

that is 100 years by 26th March, 1014.


This Centenary Celebration,

held 10 days earlier,

was a great and a memorable event.


It was a celebration in memory of a great man.


Toru Kumon was inspired

by his eldest son, Takashi,

who was not doing too well in mathematics

when he began his second year at elementary school

in 1954.


At first Toru Kumon’s wife, Teiko, helped their son Takeshi.


She successfully persuaded her husband Turo Kumon

to take over the teaching of Takeshi.


After all Toru Kumon started his teaching career in mathematics

after his graduation from a university

in  1936,

vowing to make his classes


and encouraging his students to self-learn.


Toru Kumon blamed the method of teaching mathematics

in school

as being the cause of his eldest son’s inability

to master the subject.


When Toru Kumon began to teach his son by himself he developed a system which became known as the Kumon Method.


Because of the popularity of his method

among other parents

the first Kumon Center was opened in Osaka in 1956.


In 1958 Toru Kumon founded

the Kumon Institute of Education.


Turo Kumon’s method was not developed overnight.

He developed the Kumon Method

with passion

as he was teaching and supervising

his beloved eldest son, Takashi.


Step-by-step Turo Kumon developed the worksheets

for independent self learning.


As of now,

at any time,

there are more than 4 million Kumon students,

studying in about 20,000 centres in the world.

Of these 2.5 million students are from outside Japan.

Malaysia currently has about 40,000 students in  188 centers.

We have 185 instructors.


Compared to other ASEAN countries

we are behind Indonesia,


and The Philippines

in term of number of students.


But, as a percentage of the population of each country,

we are the leading country.


Since 1956,

19 million students

have enrolled in Kumon Centers worldwide.


Toru Kumon died of pneumonia on 25th July, 1995

after having lived for 81 years, three months and twenty days.


I do not know of any one man,

in history,

except for those who discovered

mathematical theories and formulae,

who has been of service

to the teaching of mathematics

as Toru Kumon has done.


We are here today because of him.


Without him there is no Kumon Method to teach.


I learned from reading

and attending conferences

in Tokyo,

Nagoya (Ms. Miho’s hometown),


Yokohama (Miss Mizue’s hometown)

and various conferences locally,

in addition to dialogues and discussions with Kumon’s officials

 at all levels,

that the most important component of Kumon’s success

is ‘The Instructors.’


I was most elated

when I heard Ms. Allen Abdullah

revealed in Yokohama

that he opted in favor for the Kumon Method of teaching

as against the famous Elly’s Smith School method

where she was the principal of the school.

I saw many women in my trip around the world,

especially when I attended Kumon’s conferences,

which are dominated by women.


But I must confess,

that my motivation bloated,

when I saw,

not young women,

but elderly women,

who had served as Kumon Instructors

for more than 45 years,

energetically coming up the stage,

with proud looks,

telling us how much,

each and everyone of them have enjoyed

having served as Kumon Instructors

and feeling the satisfaction

upon seeing hundreds of their students

- being successful


Those of you present here today,

who have served for a long period

would know better the meaning of what I said.


As Kumon instructors:


  1. You are  the chosen ones,
  2. You are the franchisees and the instructors,
  3. You are strong believers in the value of education,
  4. You believe in the ethos of continuous improvement
    in order to offer the best supplementary education possible
    to the children who study with you,
  5. You face the challenges of running your own business,
    As you own the Kumon Centers
    and you deliver the results,
  6. You have been trained as instructors and have attended further training sessions,
  7. You interact among yourselves
    and are further exposed to new ideas 
    and methods
    through seminars and conferences,
  8. You have the continuous support, training and guidance
    from the management of Kumon
  9. You are obsessed by high standards and expectations
  10. You enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of your students when they have successfully completed their worksheets,
  11. You strive to improve the students when they have just reached their Just Right Level.
  12. You know that our childrens’s future is the future of our nation and the future of the children of the world is the future of mankind.
    And, having been an elected representative in Parliament
    and the State Assembly for 30 years,
    from 1974 to 2014,
    I must confess,
    that I have the greatest satisfaction of my life
    in being associated with Kumon.
    Among us today is Datin Prof. Dr. Amla Salleh
    who is an expert in counselling
    at University Kebangsaan Malaysia.
    Her late husband Dato’ Mahadzir Khir,
    a very close friend of mine,
    was once a Deputy Minister of Education in Tun Dr. Mahathir’s cabinet after serving in the University of Malaya.
    Both husband and wife
    have written many articles and books on education.  
    With her presence among us
    I hope that with her presence, the management of Kumon
    will have a softer image,
    and future interactions with her
    will further assist in the expansion of Kumon nationwide.
    We need to have more small seminars
    and group discussions
    all over the country,
    as often as is possible,
    in order to share and upgrade our capability
    and our students’ performance.
    If there is anything that I have learnt
    from all Kumon conferences,
    it is –
    to improve our performance
    the more knowledgeable, committed and efficient we become.
    Let us therefore work conscientiously for the growth of Kumon
    as this is one of the best way for us
    to help our country.
    I was in the Cabinet of Tun Dr. Mahathir
    when we decided that science and mathematics should be taught in English.
    We were horrified
    when this policy was reversed, for whatever reason.
    It is important for all of us to remember
    that all knowledge are written,
    and that they are written
    in the various languages of the world.
    Besides the nationalistic value of a language
    within the terriroty of a people
    who speaks the language,
    and the pride that goes with it,
    civilisationss of the world
    have never been built on pride alone
    but more so
    in the knowledge that its people command.
    If a person understands only one language
    then the knowledge that the person has
    will only be those which are written or delivered
    in that language alone.
    If knowledge from other languages are not translated
    into the language that the person knows
    than I would say that that person
    is imprisoned
    within prison of that language,
    and will remain poor
    if knowledge available in that language
    is limited.
    Even a person who speaks only the English language
    can be said to be living in the English language prison,
    since knowledge is vastly available in English,
    the person is therefore living within a very large prison
    with abundant knowledge,
    or within a rich and prosperous prison.
    Even developed nations like
    and France
     encourage their people,
    particularly the leaders in the various fields
    to master the English language.
    Even China and India,
    with such a big population
    are encouraging its students to study English.   
    Kumon has its own method of teaching English.
    Looking at the RRL
    or Recommended Reading List
    one cannot avoid admiring the distance that Kumon has gone in perfecting its English teaching lessons.
    Staff and instructors,
    Ladies and gentlemen,
    If we work hard enough
    we can be the leading nation in ASEAN,
    in term of the number of students,
    despite our smaller population.
    This is my promise
    to the top management of Kumon
    at Lunch time in Yokohama.
    No country
    in the world
    have succeeded
    without enough number in the population
    with intellectual strength in mathematics, science and English.
    our promise to the top management  of Kumon
    in Yokohama
    is also our promise to this beloved nation of ours - Malaysia.
    With this I declare the conference closed.
    Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Sanusi bin Junid, Pengerusi Kumon Education Malaysia 

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