Ministry to cut teachers’ workload, stop resignations

The Education Ministry hopes technology will lighten the load of teachers. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
The Education Ministry hopes technology will lighten the load of teachers. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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PETALING JAYA, Sept 19 — The Education Ministry is taking steps to reduce the workload of teachers which has forced many graduates to call it quits not long after joining the service. 

Its director-general, Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof, said measures were being put in place to tackle the problem.

“We are aware of their stress, pressure, predicament and woes ... it’s a daily occurrence in schools,” he said.

“We understand that teachers are heavily pressured and stressed with the preparation of lessons everyday.” 

National Union of the Teaching Profession president Kamarolzaman Razak had said many graduates left the service after about two years because of the workload. 

“They are overloaded with paper work. This causes them stress,” he said.

“The ministry should take heed of the struggle of teachers and not overburden them with numerous tasks.”

Khair said the ministry was aware of the problem and was addressing the issue. 

He said the ministry was introducing the online teaching system, 1BestariNet, to reduce the workload of teachers by at least 50 per cent. 

“We will be liaising with vendors for Internet connectivity and we will see an enhanced service. Once the 1BestariNet is completed, teachers in rural areas would also have access to the network. The ministry is trying its best to upgrade the system as soon as possible,” he said.

Under the 1BestariNet programme, the ministry aims to utilise the high-speed 4G network to develop a virtual learning environment for schools throughout the country. 

“With the online system, teachers will be able to organise e-learning classes instead of depending only on  textbooks or reading materials,” Khair said.

Those new in the profession would be offered development programmes to monitor their progress.

“Through this development system, teachers and their superiors can gauge their performance. New teaching methods can be introduced so classes would not be static or boring,” he said.

Khair said teachers would no longer need to wait years for their promotion as an annual performance and competency evaluation system had been implemented.

“Some of the new teachers have been promoted as they are competent and can deliver better than those who have been around longer,” he said. 

Kamarolzaman had also pointed out last week that each year some 80,000 candidates applied for teaching positions but only 3,000 were taken in. 

“With this limit, many others who are qualified fail to make the cut. Two years into the profession, many resign citing stress and workload,” he said.

“This is problem does not seem to be reducing.”

While no official figures are available, Kamarolzaman did not rule out the possibility that at least 45 per cent of young graduates left the profession two years after signing up.

He said the teachers were also disillusioned over promotion prospects as young graduates would have to wait eight years to advance.

“Waiting for eight years is extremely long, which is why the ministry should initiate fast track promotion to reward those who perform,” he said.

“If they deserve promotion in five years, they should not be forced to wait another three years. Fast track promotion will encourage them to deliver more.”

Kamarolzaman had also called on the ministry to provide teaching assistants to help young teachers with their paperwork.

“Giving them short notice to complete their work is tough on them and sometimes the Internet coverage in some schools is bad and delays their work,” he said.

“Fresh graduate teachers are talented and technology savvy but we are not utilising them to the fullest, which is a waste of talent.”

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