IN my last teh tarik meeting with friends who are in the recruitment and headhunting business, I was told that there were many Malaysian graduates who were jobless.
Some of them are Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Public Service Department scholars with Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESL) qualifications.
I was told that the Education Ministry did not employ them because they did not meet the ministry's qualification requirements for schools.
Recently, Nor Sa'adah @ Aziah Zakariah, a 61-year-old single mother from Banting, Selangor, graduated with a Bachelor of Education in TESL from Universiti Teknologi Mara. I was told that she applied for the position of a contract teacher with the ministry, but her application was turned down because there were no positions available for people with her qualifications.
In the past few years, many suggestions have been made by the public for the ministry to employ experienced retired teachers to teach in national schools.
The common answer given by the ministry is that retired teachers are not interested in re-employment.
Some of these experienced and qualified retired teachers have joined international schools and private colleges and universities after being told that their applications were rejected.
Others are providing tuition in the comfort of their homes while the rest are happily retired. Pupils are the biggest losers. Some of them have to go through English language classes taught by teachers who are neither qualified nor experienced.
So, now we know the real reason is that the ministry does not want to re-employ them, nor does it want to employ TESL graduates.
Knowing the problems the ministry is facing with regard to the shortage of experienced and qualified English language teachers, I do not understand why the ministry cannot be more flexible in its employment policies.
Employing retired, experienced and qualified teachers is one way to solve the problem and if the ministry relaxes its policies, the shortage can be partly addressed.
If graduates with TESL qualifications do not meet the ministry's requirements, get these graduates to undergo a programme to make them qualified to teach in schools. It should only be a one-year programme at the most. Doing all these will improve the situation.
The ministry has previously shipped in foreign teachers, including native English language speakers from the United States and the United Kingdom.
All the measures cost a lot of money and none of them have shown any favourable results. They only make the public and parents frustrated. Now, Putrajaya is mulling over the idea of bringing in English language teachers from India. I wonder what they will think of next.
Hussaini Abdul Karim, Shah Alam, Selangor | email@example.com New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 03 January 2013