A year under Pakatan, groups say schools still facing shortage of qualified teachers

As PH celebrates its first year in power, education stakeholders believe that there are still a lot of areas that the government needs to improve in the country’s education system. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
As PH celebrates its first year in power, education stakeholders believe that there are still a lot of areas that the government needs to improve in the country’s education system. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

IPOH, May 4 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) should be focusing on hiring more qualified teachers as schools are currently experiencing a shortage of staff, groups have said.

As PH celebrates its first year in power, education stakeholders believe that there are still a lot of areas that the government needs to improve in the country’s education system.

The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that the Education Ministry should eradicate the issue of teacher absenteeism and poor performing teacher.

“The government have to tighten the exit policy and ensure teacher’s assessments by school leaders are conducted honestly and diligently.

“In turn, school leaders have to be performance based and exercise leadership skills,” she told Malay Mail.

PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that the Education Ministry should eradicate the issue of teacher absenteeism and poor performing teacher. ― Malay Mail pic
PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that the Education Ministry should eradicate the issue of teacher absenteeism and poor performing teacher. ― Malay Mail pic

Noor Azimah also said the Ministry should ensure the number of teachers are adequate and competent.

Echoing Noor Azimah, Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) Mak Chee Kin said that shortage of teachers in schools has reached an alarming stage.

“Black shoes, swimming pools, cashless system and even the teacher’s lounge are not the priority at the moment.

“There is a shortage of teachers for Dual Language Programme (DLP) schools and also inadequate of teachers due to retirement. These are the woes of the schools, unfortunately no immediate attention is given,” he said.  

Mak said that the implementation of teacher’s assistants is a good move, but added there are no signs of additional teacher’s assistants being sent to school.  

Mak also proposed that apart from teaching science and maths in English, more usage and exposure should be enforced on the language.

“Except for the main school assembly on Monday, we suggest all other activities and gathering should be conducted in English.

“All co-curriculum activities and announcements should also be made in English. We also welcome more public speaking club like Toastmaster club,” he said.

Mak said introduction of speakers corners is a good move to get the desired result, but he added that it was set up only for the sake of setting up.

“The only positive development so far is the abolishment of exams for the lower primary schools and the setting up of the advisory board,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) vice-president Datuk Lee Kon Yin said that even though the government had given more to Chinese schools compared to Barisan Nasional, it was still flip-flopping on policies.

Citing the recognition of United Examination Certificate (UEC) as an example, Lee said PH had promised it would recognise the certificate once it comes into power.

“But now instead of recognising UEC as promised, a task force has been set up to study the matter with a report expected in July,” he said.

PH had in its manifesto promised to recognise the UEC which is being issued by independent Chinese schools in Malaysia.

It was reported recently that the task force set up by the Education Ministry to study on the recognition of UEC, is actively gathering views and feedback from various stakeholders before submitting their recommendations.

PH had in its manifesto promised to recognise the UEC which is being issued by independent Chinese schools in Malaysia. — Bernama pic
PH had in its manifesto promised to recognise the UEC which is being issued by independent Chinese schools in Malaysia. — Bernama pic

Task force chairman Eddin Khoo Bu Eng was quoted to have said the team had so far interviewed various groups including associations, political parties, individuals and scholars for their opinions on the issue.

Lee, who is also Council for Perak Chinese Schools Committee chairman, said even before the UEC controversy was over, now PH finds itself facing another issue over matriculation intake.

“The decision by the government to maintain its intake for non-Bumiputera at 10 per cent is a step backward,” he added.

Lee suggested that the intake followed the country’s racial make up of 65 per cent Bumiputera and 35 per cent non-Bumiputera.

“We are not questioning the quota for Bumiputera,” he stressed.

When presenting Budget 2019, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced a RM50 million allocation for the country’s 834 partially-aided Chinese primary schools.

The federal government also allocated RM12 million for the country’s 61 Chinese independent schools.