February 18th, 2015

Isu pendidikan Sabah, Sarawak patut diutama

Ketika menjadi pengetua sekolah sekitar 20 tahun lalu, setiap tahun saya berhadapan masalah guru hendak bertukar tempat bertugas dan kekurangan guru terlatih. Selepas beberapa tahun, ada guru memohon untuk kembali ke tempat asal mereka.

Sekolah sering menjadi tempat 'berlatih' untuk mereka yang baharu lulus dari maktab perguruan dan universiti. Sedangkan sekolah amat memerlukan guru terlatih berpengalaman. Kekosongan yang ditinggalkan, diisi oleh mereka yang baru lulus dan putaran ganas itu berterusan saban tahun. Masalah sedemikian tentu dapat diatasi jika guru dari kalangan anak tempatan menjadi pendidik.

Tahun ini Sarawak memerlukan 2,432 guru, sedangkan jumlah guru tempatan hanya 601 orang, jadi perlu bergantung kepada guru dari Semenanjung. Mereka mahu lebih banyak peluang diberi kepada calon tempatan. Isu ini amat sensitif dan mereka mahu diambil kira juga aspek latar belakang etnik, termasuk memberi keutamaan khas kepada calon guru daripada etnik minoriti.

Kaji syarat kemasukan

Kementerian Pendidikan sedang mengkaji syarat kemasukan pelajar Sabah dan Sarawak bagi meningkatkan jumlah pengambilan guru baharu dari kedua-dua negeri terbabit. Merekalah yang akan kembali ke pangkuan masyarakat mereka untuk mendidik anak tempatan. Tanpa menafikan perlunya guru dari Semenanjung bagi tujuan integrasi nasional dan atas keperluan yang tidak dapat dielakkan bagi bidang tertentu, memang banyak kebaikannya jika anak tempatan mengajar di tempat mereka selepas menjalani latihan profesional.

Ada guru dari tempat lain dihantar mengajar di kawasan luar bandar, memohon untuk dipindahkan ke sekolah lain di bandar ataupun di tempat asal kerana tidak dapat menyesuaikan diridengan kawasan luar bandar. Guru tempatan lebih faham akan masalah, isu dan aspirasi masyarakat mereka. Mereka ini pasti dapat menjadi teladan dan motivasi kepada pelajar yang dididik.

Bukankah ini akan membantu untuk meningkatkan jumlah anggota masyarakat yang terdidik, pada jangka panjang? Tentu tidak adil, untuk menggunakan kayu ukur yang sama bagi calon guru dari luar bandar daripada etnik minoriti tertentu dari pedalaman Sabah dan Sarawak. Mereka ini kekurangan dari pelbagai segi, termasuk pendedahan kerana tinggal di pedalaman. Memasukkan mereka dalam kumpulan besar permohonan dan melalui sesi temu duga serta pemilihan yang ketat berdasarkan merit, bersamasama calon lain dari seluruh negara, adalah tidak adil. Tentu peluang mereka untuk terpilih adalah tipis.

Memang diakui, berbeza daripada 30 tahun lalu, kini persaingan untuk menjadi guru adalah sengit. Ketika itu, bidang perguruan bukan menjadi keutamaan anak muda, tetapi kini dengan kesukaran mendapatkan pekerjaan, mereka beranggapan, memasuki IPG atau mengikuti kursus perguruan dan pendidikan adalah lebih baik. Pekerjaan hampir terjamin meskipun masih ada siswazah yang enganggur. Pengorbanan beberapa tahun mengikuti kursus berkenaan berbaloi kerana gaji guru lumayan.

Guru sandaran

Sebelum ini, pihak sekolah dibenarkan mengambil guru sandaran tidak terlatih untuk menggantikan tempat guru bersalin, bersara atau menyambung pelajaran. Kehadiran mereka dapat mengatasimasalah kelas tanpa guru. Kini kementerian menetapkan syarat hanya guru daripada jurusan pendidikan dibenarkan memohon.

Suatu ketika, guru sandaran diberi peluang mengikuti kursus peningkatan diri pada masa cuti. Peluang diberikan mampu melatih guru sandaran ini menjadi guru berkelayakan. Seharusnya tidak timbul kekurangan guru kerana ramai anak tempatan memohon dan berazam tinggi menjadi guru. Mengapa tidak diberi peluang kepada golongan ini untuk melanjutkan pelajaran dalam bidang perguruan di IPG atau universiti berkaitan?

Guru sandaran masih diperlukan kerana negeri terbabit menghadapi kekurangan guru terlatih dan guru lulusan jurusan pendidikan. Kita memerlukan guru tempatan daripada pelbagai etnik dan agama, yang berkelayakan, komited dan bermutu bagi mengangkat kualiti dan martabat pendidikan dan bidang perguruan. Segala langkah perlu diambil untuk mengatasi masalah berkaitan kemudahan pelajaran, termasuk guru terlatih.

Selain menangani kekurangan bilik darjah, bangunan sekolah, rumah guru dan asrama yang uzur, jurang elaun perumahan yang jauh berbeza antara guru tempatan dan Semenanjung, masalah kekurangan guru terlatih perlu ditangani. Pandangan pemimpin dan rakyat dari kedua-dua negeri itu perlu diambil kira dalam perancangan bidang pendidikan. Kita mahu memastikan kualiti pelajaran di Sabah dan Sarawak setaraf dengan sekolah terbaik di negara ini. Kita mahu memastikan ada sekolah dari kedua-dua negeri terbabit termasuk dalam senarai 20 sekolah terbaik di negara ini. Ini tentu baik untuk masa depan semua. Jeniri Amir Berita Harian Kolumnis 18 Feb 2015

We need a hero

When I first decided to attempt at writing for the public, I decided that I would not write about politics. This decision was made because I don’t like the lack of civil discourse among our members of parliament and other politicians and the fact that I am simply not interested.

Yet, Malaysia had a big week last week that centred on politicians, and somehow I cannot stick my head in the sand any longer.

We saw one being sent to prison, one returned to God Almighty, accompanied by a deep sense of sadness and loss among his family, supporters, friends and foes alike; and one, choosing to clearly disrespect the late arwah by bringing in politics in his condolence speech.

I do wonder sometimes if most Malaysians have lost the sense of courtesy and respect, for some of us clearly do not have empathy.

But I am also a very stubborn woman and I will not waver too much from what I have decided.

Personally, I also spent the weekend playing host to a carnival attended by a minister, thus I feel compelled to write about Malaysians and our need for a hero. Because, politicians become our elected members of parliament through our votes, thus automatically assuming the title of leaders; subsequently expected to put on a cape and save us all from our daily misery.

Right?

The carnival I was a part of was a fundraising effort for my alma mater, Tunku Kurshiah College (TKC). When I first stepped through the gates 19 years ago, I was told by seniors to leave any titles I was born with (I have none) and other privilege I may have due to who my parents are or might have been at the gates.

My five years there have groomed me, taught me, and made me – I have a long line of inspiring seniors and super–seniors who far from being the articulate trophy wives we were supposed to be, as per our history originally as Malay Girls College (MGC), became their own leaders instead.

TKC girls can be found in many leadership positions both nationally and internationally – and I have to admit many of us juniors do feel like the high-heeled shoes to fill are enormous, but as TKC girls, nothing is ever impossible.

Thus when the school was told to move to Bandar Enstek in 2012, we raised and signed petitions to keep the school where it was in Seremban and to keep the school name, TKC, as our own.

We did not win the former battle and what subsequently happened was the current girls were moved into sub-par facilities and has yet to have a Sports Day in their current school grounds due to shoddy work and construction of the field.

When this was first brought to the attention of the alumni, there were suggestions that we bring this up with the people in charge and get those responsible to pay their dues. But there were no action taken and typically, we attempted to raise the funds ourselves.

We want to give our school back their school field and sports facilities; so we organised a carnival to raise such funds graced by the presence of Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, the patron for the TKC Walk-a-Run Carnival and an alumni of the school herself, and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin.

In short, we became our own heroes instead of waiting for one.

Watching Khairy from the side lines on Sunday, I think there is a fine tightrope between popularity and hero–worship that each politician has to carefully walk on.

Yet, the fact remains that we as the rakyat cannot simply depend fully on our heroes to save us – we must put in the hard work and effort to create the foundation on which our leaders can lead us.

If we want to vote for an intelligent leader, we must first be intelligent in choosing a leader ourselves. I still believe that civil discourse and engagement of the civil society will benefit our country as a whole and for that – we must all contribute our efforts and not merely be sheep.

I do not discount the fact that leaders must also have enough charisma and leadership qualities; and of course, the courage to bravely stand up and be counted. But I also think that we create our leaders, our heroes, based on who we are. If we are a progressive society, then we will have progressive leaders.

Perhaps the answer to Tina Turner’s "I need a hero" opening lyric “where have all the good men (and women) gone?” is simply for us all to become a hero ourselves. – Malaysian Insider February 18, 2015.

Lyana Khairuddin is a scientist who works with HIV and HPV, an educator with a local public university, and a lover of life. She switches from lab coats to running skirts effortlessly, and does most of her thinking while pounding pavements.