Brilliant teachers are the backbone of educational excellence in schools
WITHOUT quality teachers, where would the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 be? Currently, those teaching are products of universities, teachers' training colleges and sometimes fresh school-leavers who fill in the gaps in primary schools. Of course, those working with secondary school students are mostly graduates. Unfortunately, many of them are those who had failed to qualify for other undergraduate disciplines after matriculation or its equivalent. In the earlier days, however, a diploma in education was pursued after qualifying for a degree. The graduate teacher then would have been trained in a special academic discipline and also possessed teaching skills. It is obvious, therefore, that in the old days, society was particular about the quality of educators. However, the advent of universal education forced the government to make compromises.
Fortunately, that time is past and considerations of quality over quantity have become the focus of education again so that it might be on a par with the world's best. The blueprint aims for a comprehensive overhaul to effect improvements in the outcome of the transformed system. It is an important component of the National Transformation Programme and needs to be right in its implementation over the next 12 years if it were to contribute to the nation's progress. Towards this end, the imperative is to prepare a supply of excellent teachers. Of course, those already in the vocation will be given the opportunity to improve themselves further. At the same time, the Education Ministry had announced its intention to recruit 30 per cent of the cream of the annual graduate crop into the profession. Taking the best away from an alternative future of bright prospects cannot be achieved without the right incentives. It follows naturally that the remuneration structure, too, will undergo the necessary upgrading.
Also, to secure a ready supply of the best brains in the profession, brilliant Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia school-leavers must be persuaded to become teachers. In order that the intellectual wherewithal of the teachers is guaranteed, those applying must have minimum 7As for SPM. The future schools will not be unlike those in the developed countries, where head teachers hold doctoral degrees and have somehow distinguished themselves intellectually. This is why the government is setting aside 16 per cent of the country's annual budget for education, one of the highest allocations in the world. In short, the brilliant teachers will have the solid school infrastructure and support to fulfil their obligations of delivering to Malaysia first-class human capital.
The New Straits Times Online Editorial 09/09/2013