Teachers need to be polished

Thursday September 13, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/13/nation/11997955&sec=nation

By WONG PEK MEI
pekmei@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Teachers believe the Education Ministry needs to harness existing talent in the teaching force.

Secondary school teacher Abel Cheah Sze Wei, 25, said this could be done through raising incentives for high-performing teachers as well as increasing the level of support and mentorship for newer teachers.

He said having a stringent selection process for potential teachers would also raise the quality of teaching in schools.

He was commenting on one of the 11 major initiatives in the Malaysia Education Blueprint to make teaching a profession of choice by ensuring that only the top 30% of graduates are recruited.

Abel said Malaysia could learn from Finland which had invested to improve teacher quality.

“It makes sense to recruit the best and brightest to teach in any society, because teaching is the act of passing on a society’s culture and knowledge to the next generation,” he said.

His mother Ruth Cheah Kah Yok, a school principal, said the ministry should hire the “cream of the crop”.

“Teachers are now handsomely paid. I hope young achievers would consider this profession because it is rewarding as you can have an impact on the next generation,” she said.

Private school teacher Joanne Ho Xue Li, 25, said the ministry should test-run the initiatives before implementing them to ensure a smooth transition.

Her 69-year-old father Ho Oon Tian, who is a retired school principal, said reducing paperwork would allow teachers to focus on their main task of teaching.

“Those teaching play a big role in inspiring the young ones to become educators, too.”