Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

Make learning creative

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
 Teachers need to integrate creativity and innovation into lessons to engage the post-millennial generation. PIC BY ASWADI ALIAS

Teachers need to integrate creativity and innovation into lessons to engage the post-millennial generation. PIC BY ASWADI ALIAS

LETTERS: ”I Miss my friends and teachers” — that was the message I received from some students during our online conversations a few days ago.

Compared to the feeling of being away from school during the school holidays, this period of Movement Control Order (MCO) is a whole different story.

Schools may be temporarily closed, but learning should continue. Not only will it help students relax their mind during the depressing global crisis but it is also one way to keep their learning interest high.

Assisted and facilitated by teachers, students can keep themselves academically engaged at home as they revise lessons and increase their understanding of topics, thanks to social media and the Google Classroom application.

Lessons should be designed for all instead of focusing on those sitting public examinations this year. For the advanced, intermediate and weak groups of students, answering online quizzes and playing educational games help them have fun while learning.

Teachers need to integrate creativity and innovation into teaching by coming up with lessons that cater to the post-millennial generation. They may consider preparing virtual rewards for students who make the effort and score high marks.

Educational videos may be recorded and uploaded by teachers, who wish to provide clear explanations to challenging topics. Students may leave comments, ask questions, discuss ideas or share opinions to keep the session interactive.

Teachers can also ask students to look up additional information and assign them to complete tasks as a post-lesson activity.

The active involvement of students during and after the online-class session is useful in making sure that the yesteryear approach of spoon-feeding is not applied in this new era.

While alternative ways to learn from home may be practical and available, nothing beats the joyful experience of attending school.

Just like the students who miss their teachers, I miss them too.

by MUHAMAD SOLAHUDIN RAMLI

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/04/580403/make-learning-creative

Teachers explore online teaching methods during MCO

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Online teaching is the best method during MCO. -File pic
Online teaching is the best method during MCO. -File pic

THE Covid-19 pandemic and closure of all schools across the country has thrown teachers a curveball.

How do they teach remotely during this unprecedented time so students don’t lose a sizable chunk of their education?

Mohd Khalis Khalid, a Chemistry teacher from Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah (SAS) Putrajaya said he will make sure that his boys are given tasks to be completed despite no face-to-face session.

“I ask them to hand in the tasks in any platform that is available to them. Anything, be it in the form of messages, snapping a photo of the tasks, voice notes, emailing, or the use of platforms such as Google Classroom,” he said.

“I use Zoom meetings with my boys who have good Internet access and especially with those who are weak too.

“The nature of the Chemistry subject is that it requires techniques and explanations so I need to show them one by one using examples.

“So far, there’s no problem with these sessions. For me, it’s important to see their faces and their expressions, to give them moral support throughout the MCO as we don’t really know when it will end,” he said.

Mohd Khalis, who teaches Form 4 and 5 students, added that he also uses Telegram and WhatsApp group chats to communicate with those who were unable to join the Zoom meetings.

“They are free to ask me anything they do not understand and I can also give instructions to them,” he said.

On the rate of success using these digital methods, Mohd Khalis said: “This is not a new dimension in terms of teaching and learning, but not every teacher has the experience with e-learning.

“This is definitely a boost to the 21st century teaching and learning in this country.” he said.

Meanwhile, English teacher Bobby Chan Sze Ing from SMK Seri Perling, Johor Baru said most teachers have set up online chat groups with different classes and assigned worksheets that are relevant to the examination format.

Chan, who teaches Form 3, 4 and 5 students said: “For me, I am using WhatsApp or Telegram Group chats as well as Google Classroom.

“As for oral practice, I assign my students to a TikTok assignment where they have to create a speaking task effectively on a given topic.”

“There are also other options where teachers use Zoom or Google Meet to do virtual conferencing with their students. It’s pretty interesting and worth trying,” he added.

The Education Ministry (MOE) in a statement had said that student learning can be implemented effectively even under these challenging conditions.

However, teachers are reminded to take into account students with limited Internet access.

For these students, MOE suggested that teachers may request that students carry out learning activities using textbooks and workbooks without having to leave home.

Delvery and retrieval of printed material during the MCO period is strictly prohibited.

MOE also provided a set of guidelines for teaching and learning (Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran — PdP) implementation during the Movement Control Order (MCO) which details the roles and responsibilities of administrators, teachers, parents and students to ensure effective delivery of PdP.

Teachers have been asked to utilise a variety of online and social media platforms suitable for planning and directing lessons and homework, to ensure no student is left behind, and is able to follow continuous learning in a safe manner,

The learning platform provided by the MOE is accessible via http://www.moe-dl.edu.my.

This platform provides links to Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams for PdP purposes, digital textbooks, PdP videos (Ed FurnitureTV/CikgooTube) and links to PdP-assisted apps like Edpuzzle (interactive video teaching app), Quizizz (quiz shape games) and Kahoot (game-based learning).

In addition, parents can access EduwebTV (video collection) and CikgooTube (sharing a video collection of teacher creativity efforts) to aid learning children at home via http://eduwebtv.moe.edu.my and http://bit.ly/cikgootube.

By Hanna Sheikh Mokhtar.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2020/03/579992/teachers-explore-online-teaching-methods-during-mco

Turning difficulties into learning opportunities

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

HEAR ye, Hear ye! Here’s a language alert! Look what Queen Corona dragged in along with her long, trailing train — a vocabulary bundle of now “trending words”. Trending, because these words have a great and unavoidable worldwide presence — on social media, in news casting, and in newspapers.

Being an avid newspaper reader and a diehard Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) practitioner, I seized the opportunity to scour the pages of mainly the March 19 and 20 editions and came up with this cherry-picked list of words that are on everyone’s lips. Be sure to keep adding to the list and create for yourself a bank book of coronovirus or Covid-19 related words.

The virulent Covid-19 disease has activated words that were otherwise lying dormant in the recesses of our brain. I was reminded of The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mention of the “valley of ashes” in Corona, Queens! The imagery serves us well this day – dismal. Our lives have turned “ash-grey” and “foul” and become disconnected.

For sure some of these coronavirus related words that have gone viral alongside the disease will make their entry or revised entry (with their new meanings) into the dictionaries.

We begin here with some abbreviations and then move on to words and their meanings in context. Yes, dear students, remember that context always counts, so let’s lock down on that!

Covid-19: this is in itself a new abbreviation for a new disease – Coronavirus disease 2019.

MCO: Movement Control Order – The Star March 19 headline shouts out its meaning in red – JUST STAY HOME – making it a “red letter law.” You know why.

BAU: “Business as usual” – in this context the newspaper makes a sardonic reference to Malaysians continuing to do what they love doing; eating and hanging out at food courts, coffee shops, adopting “a lackadaisical attitude” and continuing to gather “despite the MCO coming into force.”

Pandemic: widespread, occurring worldwide simultaneously. It’s different from an epidemic, though also widespread, an epidemic occurs within a community and may be seasonal. Not necessarily global.

Contagion: (no, not the film, even if some contact points are obvious.) It’s the transmission of disease from one person/organism to another by close contact.

Droplet infection: getting infected through coughing, sneezing, or direct contact like kissing.

Social distancing: keeping at least literally one metre (or more) away from others to lessen chance of getting infected. Avoiding crowded places is best. So, no hob-nobbing!

Lockdown: We’re familiar with “lock up” but now we’re in the grips of a near lockdown. The newspaper explains this as an emergency protocol usually initiated by the government to prevent people or information from leaving an area.

Cabin fever: A psychologically negative effect brought on by staying cooped up indoors for an extended period without getting any sun and without any mental stimulation. One tends to get restless, irritable, and even quarrelsome doing nothing during prolonged self-isolation. Don’t stay idle; keep busy and brush up on English!

Panic buying/frenzy buying: you literally buy into the panic! Overcome by fear of shortage or rise in price, you overbuy, especially groceries and toiletries. You are allowing paranoia to set in; it is unhealthy!

The point worth noting here is that teachers and students alike can turn every difficulty into a learning opportunity – in more ways than one. OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE — how you read this, reflects your state of mind.

By Lucille Dass.

Read more @ thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/03/29/turning-difficulties-into-learning-opportunities

Ensure right to education even in crisis

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

THE Global Campaign for Education (GCE) has called on national governments to prioritise education, even during their fight to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The international leading civil society movement said the outbreak has compounded the plight of learners in countries affected and, or emerging from conflict and disaster.

“While the GCE acknowledges the public health decision to close schools, we believe that contingency plans should be in place to ensure the right to education even in times of crisis, ” its March 18 statement read.

The GCE is convinced that all learners no matter where they live, and what the circumstances, have a right to education.

“Education is an essential right for children, youths and adults in emergencies and must be a priority from the very beginning of any and all emergency responses.

Among the movement’s appeals is to dedicate appropriate resources, financial and technical, to ensure the right to free, quality public education for all is maintained during the Covid-19 crisis.

Calling on governments to increase funding and support for education, and to minimise the pressure on teachers and schools that remain open, it said that each day millions of children do not go to school due to emergencies and other ongoing humanitarian crises.

Since its outbreak in late December 2019, Covid-19 has wreaked havoc across the world and like any critical sector, education has been hit hard.

Students, schools, colleges and universities have been deeply impacted.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), over 800 million learners from around the world have been affected, one in five learners cannot attend school, one in four cannot attend higher education classes, and over 102 countries have ordered nationwide school closures while 11 have implemented localised school closure.

“Governments and civil society concerted efforts that mobilise resources, and expertise to address the impact of Covid-19 on education is urgently required, ” said GCE global coordinator Grant Kasowanjete.

“This process should include developing long term strategies to address the needs of education in emergencies, ” he added.

Its president Refat Sabbah said: “GCE reaffirms its willingness to work in close collaboration with governments and world leaders to find appropriate solutions and mitigating measures to ensure the right to education throughout these challenging times.”

GCE, which advocates education as a basic right, has over 125 members, 93 of these are national education coalitions, 18 International NGOs and 14 regional networks and youth-led organisations.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/03/29/ensure-right-to-education-even-in-crisis

To take education to next level, make orators out of students

Monday, March 23rd, 2020
To bring education to the next level, one of the ways is to improve university curriculum and testing on verbal ability. It must not only test via test papers and laboratory activities. A bigger percentage on verbal performance is needed. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only
To bring education to the next level, one of the ways is to improve university curriculum and testing on verbal ability. It must not only test via test papers and laboratory activities. A bigger percentage on verbal performance is needed. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only
March 23, 2020 @ 12:08am

LETTERS: Higher Education Minister Dr Noraini Ahmad, when interviewed, said that she wanted to take education to a new level.

Hence, I believe our education system should produce orators.

It will be of great benefit if citizens are good at speaking and have productive persuasive discourse, a society that exercises persuasion in making laws, and governing human physical and mental activities.

It is observed that our education system is largely good at producing clever graduates.

But these graduates are quiet. They are good at memorising knowledge but are tongue-tied when required to express the knowledge verbally.

Out of the 9,000 2019 SPM 9As and 10As scorers, which was announced two weeks ago, I wonder how many can speak well.

In the course of 30 years teaching those aged between 21 and 25 years old, five out of 30 students (in a class) can speak well.

The rest will memorise the “script” or read the slides if they are required to perform a 10-minute presentation.

Sometimes the memorising is too perfect. I had no choice other than givingbut to give him/her a B or an A. Deep down, I know have given marks for parroting.

While the ability to memorise is good, too much memorising may stall one’s ability to speak freely.

A student who is able to speak well assumes leadership easily and gains respect from classmates.

He or she also does well academically. All these makes him or her more confident.

To be a good speaker, first, one has to be confident. The first phase is when the children are in kindergarten and primary school; we need to instil confidence in toddlers.

The second phase is to train them to speak in a more structured manner when they enter secondary school, college or university.

So kindergartens and primary schools educators should address shyness. They need to be encouraged to do something and tell others about it. And we should show appreciation of what they do, be it good or mediocre.

Next, always place them in speaking activities, spontaneous or structured.

Here, we are exposing to them to speaking activities early in life. Let speaking to peers become their way of life.

To exercise a more structured training, universities must emphasise more evaluation of the ability to speak.

To make it better, universities should also guide on speech habits and characteristics. Then coach on posture, voice, and diction to cultivate poise.

In short, to bring education to the next level, one of the ways is to improve university curriculum and testing on verbal ability.

It must not only test via test papers and laboratory activities. A bigger percentage on verbal performance is needed.

Persuasion and public speaking in democracy are crucial. As long as there is rhetoric, and public speaking to deliver that message, democracy exists.

As Malaysia practises democracy, there is a need for rhetoric and public speaking.

Hence, our education system should establish stronger and effective training on public speaking.

by ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DR MEGAWATI OMAR

UiTM, Shah Alam

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/03/577104/take-education-next-level-make-orators-out-students

Scoring the perfect grades

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Aadithiya gave his teachers to mark his exercises to improve himself. Starpix by Low Lay Phon.

DON’T get disheartened when you score low marks and don’t feel embarrassed to face your classmates.

There are always more opportunities to improve yourself. Identify your weakness and find a solution.

That was Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2019 top scorer Aadithiya Selvaraja’s advice to students.

“Be attentive during lessons and respect your teachers.

“Parents too shouldn’t compare their children to others as each student have their unique strengths and capabilities, ” he said.

The 18-year-old from SMK Tinggi Kajang achieved 11As in the recent examination and was invited to give students a motivational talk at the Little Penguins Literacy Consultancy recently.

Effort and hard work, he said, was the only way to do well.

For the SPM, he studied with his friends and exchanged notes, besides doing his own exercises at home.

Once he completed the exercises, he would bring them to school for his teachers to mark them and give him feedback.

“My teachers even gave us extra lessons after schooling hours.”

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/03/22/scoring-the-perfect-grades

FullAMark keeps students on track with studies

Friday, March 20th, 2020

WITH school closures for two weeks until March 31, online or digital learning can be a solution for students sitting for national exams this year to keep on track with their learning.

Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Melawati 1, Kuala Lumpur pupil Ju Alysha Chong, 12, who started using the e-learning platform this year said she found FullAMark useful as a tool to study on her own at home.

“There are useful and comprehensive notes to help guide me when I am revising on my own. There are also sufficient exercises for me to practice on after I have revised the topics,” she added.

“The learning platform also labels all Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) questions, giving me practice to apply the components in answering this type of questions.”

Ju Alysha said she can check her performance on answering questions within the stipulated time by interacting with the e-Cikgu as well as peers who use the online portal.

“Science and Mathematics questions come in dual-languages – Bahasa Malaysia and English,” she added.

NSTP Education Vertical Department general manager Farah Ezrin Mohd Rashidi said FullAMark offers exercises for students of all three levels of standardised examinations in Malaysia.

“The portal has new exercises and notes every week. On Monday, content for Year 5 students and Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) candidates are uploaded. On Tuesday, Form 3 Assessment (PT3) level content is published while on Wednesday, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students can look forward to exercises and notes created specifically for them.

“The materials are prepared by writers of Berita Harian’s (BH) education pullouts DIDIK, MINDA and SKOR, as well as the New Straits Times’ English language pullout School Times,” explained Farah Ezrin.

She also said they have a selection of specialised writers to be the content contributors as it is important that the exercises and notes be in line with the Education Ministry’s modules, syllabus and format.

“The exercises are based on the latest assessment set by the Examination Board,” she said, adding that they vet the format internally before including them in FullAMark.

“With this digital platform, users will get used to answering examination questions, especially the HOTS questions that are tested in national exams.

HOTS questions are tested in the national-level examinations since 2014 and have gradually been increased. In 2018, 30 per cent of the items were tested, but 2019 saw 35 per cent of HOTS items in SPM.

FullAMark also gives parents the flexibility to monitor their children’s progress while preparing for the examinations.

Farah Ezrin said the platform allows students to connect with each other via chats and comments too.

“Additionally, FullAMark Class, launched in April 2019, is for school teachers to be group administrators and facilitators for their students.

“Teachers can check their students’ performance in answering examination questions. They can also use the content for quizzes and review of certain subjects,” she added.

Students can do exercises regularly, and set the time frame for students to answer questions and be exposed to the various Higher Order Thinking Skills questions.

She added that they received good response from parents on the success of their children scoring 9As and 8As after using FullAMark.

The portal offers core subjects, namely Bahasa Melayu, English, Science and Mathematics for UPSR candidates and PT3 students, while for SPM, there is Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics and History. Science and Mathematics are offered in dual languages for all levels.

FullAMark’s one-year subscription which was RM120.00 is now being reduced to RM90 until April 30, 2020.

To find out more about the e-learning portal, visit www.fullamark.com.my.

By New Straits Times.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2020/03/576506/fullamark-keeps-students-track-studies

Covid-19 shakes up education

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Parents helping their children study online at home in Mulhouse, eastern France. Covid-19 has brought rapid innovation to the education industry. AFP PIC

Parents helping their children study online at home in Mulhouse, eastern France. Covid-19 has brought rapid innovation to the education industry. AFP PIC

THE education sector has not distinguished itself with high-speed change. A debate on the cost of tuition was strongly buttressed by the biblical anecdote of the young Jesus Christ ejecting the money changers from the temple. That was 2,000 years ago.

In the university sector, if one could implement time travel for professors and their students, they could be safely delivered to a university town and be rapidly and fully functional in their work. There still remains the amphitheatre seating of chairs. There is the black or white board to communicate information.

There is the professor up front moving from one room side to the other, while students take notes or raise their hand indicating readiness for comment. There are still office hours with various functionalities and examinations, which are a pain to take and to grade.

Any changes to this model require approval by at least four faculty committees, each one of which needs substantial time to investigate the impact potential repercussions of alterations. Then there are reviews by board members, insights from administrators, and the “Fingerspitzengefuehl” of financial liaison.

The bottom line: change for education is very difficult and hard to achieve. However, Covid-19 has brought rapid innovation to the education industry. How? We can attribute to it very high degrees of rapidity, focus, transparency and adaptation, which lead to significant changes.

Students, by the tens of thousands, are shifting their main residence within a week. They complete important selections between clothes, equipment and learning materials. Faculty members have, at the same time, solidified new course materials and given major thought to content delivery under new conditions.

Administrators had to rapidly find ways to work with complaining and even incensed students and parents. How to conduct an international programme under conditions of severely inhibited travel? How to interact with high mobility groups?

How to adjust the delivery of an excellent classroom joke, which now has no classroom audience? Long-term contemplations must now be considered and decided on with a new kind of time framework — I suggest 10 days for adaption of innovation.

Textbooks which I developed over 40 years now need a revision time measured in weeks. The virus has given us a way to cope with complexity using extraordinary speed. There are now innovations that are finally accepted and pump new energy and strength into the body politic. The best infusion is yet to come.

In Germany, educational changes have been seen as the end of the world. Even students at an airport on a school day were seen as a threat to society for missing out on their classes. Now, due to the virus, students must stay at home.

Schools whose mission had gradually shifted from being institutions for learning to offering pressure against drugs, against cigarettes, for democracy and for diversity.

It appears that teachers are now beginning to teach again, and students can ask questions that actually are answered. Although in past events of national need, the ability to adapt resources appeared not to exist, this time, the resources and the teachers are all here, all in support of insights and service of German youth. Support is getting much better.

Also, remember, that once the toothpaste has left the tube, it won’t go back in, which leads to totally different uses and expectations. Earlier societies and time periods had their own changes, some without much benefit, such as bubonic plague and the great influenza epidemic.

Other changes triggered much displacement but lead also to eventual improvement to society. Examples are the printing press of Gutenberg, electricity by Edison and planes by the Wright brothers.

Covid-19 leads to adjustments that result in new approaches, unexpected adaptations and a much wider field of options. We will have new playing fields, new players and new rules.

The post-viral times will not necessarily be convenient or tranquil, but there will be many more opportunities for innovation and creativity. We wish you well. Stay safe!

By Michael R. CzinkotaMichael L. Czinkota

Red more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/03/576056/covid-19-shakes-education

Mohd Radzi, Noraini head education, higher education

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (left) and Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad.

AS the new Education Minister, Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin’s (pic) focus is to move forward.

He said it is pertinent to plan a good education system.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member requested that he be given space and time to look into the various issues facing the country’s education system.

“I will first (carry out research), understand and prioritise the matters that must be handled in depth.

“We will do our best as soon as we can.

“This is a very important and huge ministry.

“We have around 500,000 staff across the country,” he said when clocking in at his new office at the Education Ministry’s 10th floor on Wednesday.

Mohd Radzi arrived at the Education Ministry later in the afternoon.

This is because he was returning from the Economic Affairs Ministry after attending his final event at the ministry, where he had served as the deputy minister under the Pakatan Harapan government.

Before meeting with reporters, he had a discussion with the ministry’s top management including Education director- general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Gazali Abas, deputy secretary-general (development) Datuk Azizan Mohamad Sidin, deputy secretary-general (operations) Mohd Azhan Md Amir, deputy director-general (school operation sector) Adzman Talib and deputy director-general (development and teacher professionalism) Dr Ahmad Rafee Che Kassim.

When asked about the various education issues including the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), the free breakfast programme as well as his hopes for the ministry, Mohd Radzi said it had only been two minutes since he entered the ministry.

“Let me sit down with the officers and analyse the scenarios and understand the situations before I say anything further,” he said.

He will further discuss matters that must be given immediate attention with the ministry’s top management, he said, adding that he is aware of parents’ high hopes in having their children receive the best education.

“They want to see the country’s next generation master various skills besides academics.

“I am humbled to be entrusted with the responsibility of bringing our country’s education system to greater heights by our Prime Minister,” Mohd Radzi added.

Meanwhile, newly sworn-in Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (pic) has pledged to bring the country’s higher education performance to the next level.

“I want to express my thanks to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for believing in me and appointing me to helm this post.

“The ministry will try our best to achieve the goals entrusted to us by the Prime Minister,” said Noraini who started her first day as Higher Education Minister with a visit to her new office on Tuesday.

She arrived at the Higher Education Ministry in Precinct 5, Putrajaya at 5.45pm on March 10.

She was met on arrival by Mohd Gazali, Kamel, Mohd Azhan, Azizan as well as Higher Education Department deputy director-general Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Saleh Jaafar.

Noraini said she had not been briefed by Mohd Gazali.

“I just came in today (Tuesday) and have not been briefed yet on any issues.

“After I am briefed, we will put our focus to bring Malaysia’s higher education performance to the next level, locally and internationally,” she told reporters after a walkabout at her office.

When asked about the move to split the Education Ministry, Noraini said: “As mentioned in the Prime Minister’s speech, splitting the Education Ministry into two separate entities can streamline work procedures.”

Long wait to becoming a full-time teacher

Monday, March 9th, 2020

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WHEN these individuals graduated, they had visions of themselves standing in front of a classroom, enlightening young minds with their knowledge.

Perhaps even inspiring a few of their students to become teachers themselves.

Sadly, the hopes and dreams of some of these teacher graduates have been put on hold as they anxiously wait to see if they will even be given an offer to teach in one of Malaysia’s 10,000 government schools.

Some of them were hired to be substitute teachers and teaching assistants on a contractual basis to help schools cope with the shortage of teaching staff.

According to the Education Ministry website, Malaysia has 419,904 teachers teaching in over 10,000 government schools across the nation as of Jan 31,2019.

There have been complaints by schools and parents alike about the lack of teachers in schools, especially for certain subjects like Chinese language.

Former Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said teacher education institutions (IPGs) are targeting to recruit 6,000 trainees in 2020, of which 1,310 will be trained to teach in national-type Chinese primary schools (SJKCs).

StarEdu spoke to some of these graduates, all waiting more than a year for an interview opportunity, to find out more.

*names have been changed

Still waiting

All he wanted to do was become a teacher but he has been waiting for more than a year since completing his education degree to be offered a teaching job.

In fact, Syazli says there is still no sign that he will be getting a posting any time soon.

Even getting a callback for an interview took a long time.

He says he applied for teaching positions with the Education Ministry in 2018, immediately after graduating but was only invited for one interview, a year later.

He thinks the reason it has been so difficult to get a posting is because of the uncertain economy.

He majored in Mathematics at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) and says that he has been applying for Mathematics teacher posts but to no avail.

“There are just no openings for this subject and there are some schools where there is an excess of Mathematics teachers, ” he points out.

While waiting for his posting, Syazli has been giving private tutoring around Ipoh and Tanjung Malim from Saturdays to Wednesdays.

At the same time, he adds, he is pursuing his Masters at UPSI.

He was also a replacement teacher at two different schools last year.

He says he originally wanted to be posted at schools in Perak, Labuan or Selangor but now he does not mind being posted anywhere.

So long as there is a stable Internet connection.

“Right now, a lot of a teacher’s work such as filling in data forms is done online and an unstable Internet connection will really disrupt the workflow, ” he adds.

Syazli says that the authorities should also stop sending any teacher to a school just to fill in an empty post for a subject.

“For example, English. The authorities should send a teacher who majors in English or has experience teaching English to that school, ” he says.

“If teachers teach their options, they will be more motivated to teach their students better.”

They said “no vacancy”

Educating is my passion, says an aspiring teacher looking for a job.

Unfortunately, Anis has to settle for being a home tutor instead of a full-fledged teacher at a government school.

She also had two substitute teacher stints in Terengganu for about three months.

After more than 15 months since applying for a permanent teaching position, she is still waiting for a call to attend an interview.

“They only told me they will call me if there is a vacancy for my subject choice, ” she says, adding that she has opted to teach Physics or other pure science subjects.

She majored in Physics for her degree in Education.

Strangely, Anis says that Bahasa Melayu and English Language optionists do not face this problem as there is a constant demand for these teachers.

She does not believe it is true that there are not enough vacant teaching positions in government schools.

In fact, she says that she has constantly heard complaints from other teachers that there isn’t enough of them in schools and that their workload is too heavy.

To make ends meet and to keep up with her National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan instalments, she has been tutoring from home.

Anis says that she thinks the reason there are no vacancies is because they have raised the retirement age of teachers across the board.

“There is no guarantee anymore that joining the education field means you will have a job upon graduating.”

Anis still hangs onto hope that she will get a call soon so that she can inspire more students to take up a pure science package.

“I want to try a different teaching method from the one I experienced in school.

“I want to make learning science more interesting so that students will enjoy the learning process even though the subject is considered to be quite tough.”

Taking on multiple jobs

It has been more than a year since Daniel graduated and he is still waiting for an interview slot with the Education Ministry.

He received an interview slot with Maktab Rendah Sains Mara, which does not fall under the purview of the ministry.

In the meantime, the Johor native has been working up to three different jobs to make ends meet.

He says he was a photographer cum videographer, a Grabcar driver and a runner.

“Graduates out there have no choice but to do some form of work while waiting for a posting because we just don’t know when we will get the call, ” he says.

Daniel likens his situation to the medical graduates who also have to wait for their house officer posting with the Health Ministry before they can officially be considered a medical doctor.

“To me, having a degree today is worthless because so many graduates have to work hard to find jobs with employers being harder to please, ” he adds.

He says this situation now exists because there are so many teacher graduates coming out of public universities.

On top of that, there have been budget cuts which affected the number of teachers that can be hired.

He says that not only do plenty of graduate teachers have to wait so long for the interview, those that make it through have to continue waiting to get their actual posting.

“Essentially, there are not enough teachers in government schools, ” he adds.

He says this is based on his chats with school teachers who revealed to him that they have to teach other subjects because of the shortage.

“Aside from my interest, being a teacher gives me real satisfaction when my students are able to absorb all the knowledge I share with them, ” he says, adding that he has opted to teach Music.

“I’m sure every teacher out there wants to see their students succeed. Like me, I want to see my students become better and more successful than I am one day.

“I just want to teach. It does not matter where anymore, ” he says.

We’re qualified to teach

Alicia has been waiting for almost two years now for a phone call inviting her to a job interview for a teaching position.

Despite the long wait, she counts herself slightly more fortunate than some of her teacher graduate peers.

“Some of my seniors had to wait up to five years for their posting, ” adds the Seremban native.

Alicia says she wants to teach Chemistry and has attended many interviews with the Public Services Commission but has been unsuccessful in securing a teaching job.

She finds it odd that there are non-education graduates who have allegedly received teaching position offers in the public sector.

What is even more surprising is that they do not even know what a daily teaching plan (rancangan pengajaran harian) is.

She says there are some who have private messaged her in a Telegram group for those waiting for teaching posts asking about this basic information.

Trying to find a job has also been difficult for her as “employers are weary if I will leave immediately the moment I get a teaching position.”

So far, she has held temporary substitute teacher positions at a kindergarten and a school.

She is also running an online business to keep herself afloat.

By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/03/08/long-wait-to-becoming-a-full-time-teacher