FROM an educational viewpoint, allowing teachers to be actively involved in politics is a very bad move.
First and foremost, teachers are government servants. Their duty is to serve the government of the day.
There is now a large number of graduate teachers and many of them are in primary schools. This means they can be found in the remotest of schools in Sabah and Sarawak. If they are not there yet, they could be posted there.
The Chief Secretary said at one time teachers had played an important role as community leaders in the political scenario. Their numbers are large; most of them live within or close to the communities in which they work.
Among the rural people, teachers are still a respected lot and can influence them.
Teachers in politics will spend much time politicking with the hope of getting rewards at the end of the day, e.g. promotions.
Obliged to return a good turn, politician-teachers could get promoted into positions they do not deserve due to lack of merit in their professional duties.
All these happened in the past when "teachers played an important role as community leaders in the political scenario". The education system would lose out. Do we want a repeat of history?
Will teachers be allowed to be active in opposition politics? What would happen to teachers in "sensitive" areas, e.g. rural Sarawak, who are inclined towards the opposition?
Will school heads who have political leanings towards one or the other parties tolerate teachers in their schools who have the opposite leanings?
Where will these politician-teachers be during election season -- giving ceramah and neglecting school duties with impunity or spending more time in the schools to the chagrin of their political masters?
For the National Union of the Teaching Profession not to see the wood for the trees and support the move is very short-sighted.
The secretary-general's view that the voice of teachers on issues would be heard more at the political level and that they should be given the opportunity to play a constructive role in politics is not acceptable.
It is the teachers' unions that should be having dialogues, seminars, etc, with their members and experts in the field on issues such as the public exams issue and then make representations to the government.
However, unions today seem to be averse to doing serious studies on issues and making strong, expert representations to the government.
Source :NST Letters to Editor Saturday, July 31, 2010, 08.29 AM Teachers in politics: Short-sighted system will suffer