Make fresh grads teaching assistants

WE REFER to “No job gua-rantee for teachers” (StarEducate, July 14, 2013) where it was stated that the ministry may scale back its annual intake of teachers by half over the next five years as “absolute teacher shortages are no longer an issue for the system”.

While the number of teachers required as a whole may seem adequate, weaknesses in the system which have long existed continue to remain unresolved and to no end, plague our children year after year.

If there really is an excess in the system, then channel these teachers to become teaching assistants, for instance, where the benefits can be manifold.

Most prevalent among the weaknesses is still a mismatch of teacher-to-subject where either students are not assigned a subject teacher and conveniently forgotten, or the teacher is made to teach a subject which is not his option and does a poor job of it. The relief teachers who often babysit in class have nothing to teach and students are left to their own devices.

Teachers who go on maternity leave are seldom substituted and students are left without a teacher until she returns two months later (a teacher takes nine months to have a baby after all, which provides plenty of time for school authorities to arrange replacement teachers).

The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 states that although our teacher-to-student ratio of 13:1 is still above the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of 16:1, urban schools are in dire straits where the ratio is 35:1.

by Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.

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