While the raised retirement age is said to be a cause for delays in posting new teachers to government schools, the Education Ministry’s future plans may make it even harder for students to get into the teaching profession.
WHILE the new batch of teachers have just been posted to schools around the country, many others are still lamenting their fate.
Among the main reasons for the delay in posting teachers this year is the raised retirement age of civil servants, affecting the number of available vacancies in schools.
Raising standards: The ministry is trying to get more high achievers into the teaching profession, says Kamalanathan.
Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan said the ministry usually did projections of the required number of teachers four or five years ahead in order to plan student intakes
“When we did the projection (for teachers required) four years ago, it was expected that the country needed between 6,000 to 7,000 new teachers.
“But the new retirement age has affected this — there are just not enough vacancies,” he said after visting The Star’sheadquarters in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Kamalanathan also explained to Parliament that the ministry had no policy of guaranteeing jobs for graduates who had completed their teachers’ training at teachers’ education institutes (IPGs) or public universities.
“However, the policy of perjawatan kejat (a lean Civil Service) that was decided by the Government from 2010 onwards, and the decision to extend the minimum retirement age to 60 years, has affected the limited number of vacancies ... hence although some graduates are sponsored by the ministry, their appointments will be based on available vacancies.
“This is clearly stated in the scholarship agreement signed between the ministry and the relevant graduate,” he said in his written reply to a question posed by Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) in Parliament.
Nurul Izzah had asked for an explanation on the lack of job guarantees for graduates from IPGs and universities as well as the long-term plan for such graduates if they are not posted to schools.
Aside from the increased retirement age, the ministry’s future plans for the teaching profession may mean that it will be harder for graduates to receive a posting — or even gain entry into IPGs in the first place.
Earlier last week, Bernama reported that Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said students wanting to take up teaching will now need to have at least seven As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Idris reportedly added that the minimum requirement for those in Sabah and Sarawak was five As in the SPM.
“In the future, we’re also looking at recruiting graduates from private universities; right now, priority for teaching positions is given to those from public institutions,” said Kamalanathan.
“There are some very good graduates out there, and we want to make sure that we don’t miss them out for those who have just passed the borderline mark to be teachers.
“We also wanted to make sure that graduates from IPGs are accepted by the private sector ... I’m sure they can be recruited into human resource departments in private companies for example.”
The preliminary report of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025 indicates that the ministry has been prioritising the recruitment of high academic achievers for the past few years.
According to statistics in the blueprint, 93% of applicants to the Bachelor of Education programme at IPGs in 2010 did not meet the minimum academic requirement, and only 1% of applicants had least seven As.
Meanwhile in 2012, a total of 9% of applicants scored at least seven As and applicants scoring below the academic requirement dropped to 38%.
While only 3% of high achievers were offered places for teachers’ training in 2010, 65% of high scorers were offered places at IPGs.
What is not clear however, is the total number of high scorers who were finally admitted into IPGs in both those years.
If the blueprint’s other plans are also implemented, the ministry will be even more stringent in placement of future graduates in teaching positions.
In its proposals for 2013 to 2015, the blueprint says that “graduates will only be hired if they can demonstrate, through their practicum placement and ongoing coursework, that they have met the minimum competencies expected of a fresh, incoming teacher”.
The blueprint further adds that the ministry may also consider scaling back its annual intake of 15,000 teachers by up to 50% over the next five years, as “absolute teacher shortages are no longer an issue for the system”.
Kamalanathan added that it was not enough for aspiring teachers to simply have ambitions of becoming an educator.
“The ministry is trying to get more high achievers into the profession ... if they have 8As or 7As (in the SPM), we will offer them a place.
“At the very least, students should have decent grades if they are serious about being teachers.
“I’ve received appeals from students saying that they have always dreamt of being a teacher, but they don’t even have the required number of credits – I can’t do anything for such cases,” he said.PRIYA KULASAGARAN The STAR Online Education Sunday July 14, 2013