I WOULD like to draw the attention of the authorities to the problems and inconsistencies in our education system.
Among them are:
Teachers with master's or PhD degrees are not given any recognition. The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) has promised for years that it will get postgraduate teachers an incentive as teachers' salary scales are based on their academic qualifications.
Under the new pay scheme for civil servants, it looks like they are being overlooked again.
Senior assistants, especially in primary schools, basically run the schools but they receive a mere RM60 as allowance. Worse, senior assistants who are graduates/post-graduates cannot be headmasters as they are considered overqualified. They are destined to be senior assistants for the rest of their careers.
The headmaster plays the most important role in shaping a school.
Many of them are resigned to the fact that they should not compete with the thousands of non-graduates for the few posts but shouldn't they be put on a different scale?
The authorities have stated that the headmaster plays the most important role in shaping a school and heads of schools should be carefully selected based on their qualification, ability and experience. They should attend courses and go through an interview.
However, the reality is that classroom teachers who have never been senior assistants, attended any course or interview, have been posted as headmasters to schools when there are so many qualified and experienced candidates around.
The grading of schools according to the National Key Result Areas is flawed.
Obviously, schools in remote areas with fewer students and schools with students who come from an educated background will stand a better chance of getting good academic results.
Two schools can be in the same urban area but the one next to the low-cost flats will have students who need more attention academically. So, tell me, teachers in which school will need to work harder?
What the authorities should do is take a look at the LINUS programme implemented in Year 1. From the feedback, the Education Department would be able to identify schools that have many students who cannot read and write.
Help these schools by allowing them to have fewer students in a class and giving them more remedial teachers. Teachers in these schools have to run numerous academic programmes to try to raise the academic performance of the schools.
If the students manage to pass or get good grades, it is already a cause for celebration, considering that the students were illiterate when they first stepped into school.
Compare this with a school where the students go for tuition and the teachers here can tell you that these students do not even have to go to school to get As in their exams.
And now, under our education system, these schools are rewarded and they even get to choose the students who wish to enrol? If the government is serious about raising the academic performance of schools, then help all schools instead of creating 100 elite ones.
All civil servants are entitled to three months maternity leave and from this year, non-graduate teachers are encouraged to further their studies at the government's expense.
From last year, when the maternity leave was implemented, schools were supposed to get temporary teachers to take over the teacher's classes. However, this did not happen.
Citing financial constraints , the authorities left it to schools to manage as best as they could, which means teachers had to take over the teaching periods of the teachers on maternity leave.
From this year, with the number of teachers attending classes, doing assignments, and going on maternity leave, dare we hope that the students' studies will not be affected?
School-based performance is implemented in Year 1 and 2 this year.
With the sheer amount of paperwork involved, how are teachers supposed to evaluate the students according to bands?
As an educationist, it is my hope that the government will take the necessary steps to rectify the flaws in the education system.
By S.Q., Subang Jaya, Selangor
Source: The News Straits Times Letters to the Editor 02 March 2012