Conference uplifts teaching profession

(From left) Swaroop, Piachaud and Sherina at the Leaps of Knowledge 2019 Conference as keynote speakers.

LEAPS of Knowledge Conference is back for the seventh year focused on core values of “HEART, ” an acronym for “Here To Make A Difference, Enjoy What You Do and Who You Do It With, Act With Integrity, Reach For Perfection and Think Ahead and Out Of The Box”.

The theme addressed current issues, trends and initiatives in the education landscape.

About 600 participants attended the event organised in Kuala Lumpur by FrogAsia Sdn Bhd and YTL Foundation to inspire teachers, educators and education advocates.

FrogAsia Sdn Bhd executive director Lou Yeoh said the conference was held to give educators the space to learn, be inspired, to reimagine and to be reminded of what was possible.

Among the speakers was Varkey Foundation policy and advocacy manager Nicholas Piachaud, who revealed that the occupation of a secondary and primary school teacher was in 10th and 11th place on the list of the most respected jobs in the world.

“Based on our research across the world, teachers are taken for granted, their social status is very low and they do not get the recognition they should get, ” he said.

But Varkey’s research found that Malaysia was among the countries that honoured teachers and considered a teacher as important as a doctor.

“We should look to Malaysia where its people see teachers as equal to doctors. The esteem of educators in this country should be an example to the rest of the world, ” said Piachaud, adding that this conference allowed teachers to speak up and engage in discussions.

Veteran educationist, consultant and trainer Puan Sri Sherina Aris shared about the situation in Malaysia today.

“The reality is that many people become teachers due to a lack of opportunity, ” she said, adding that the profession was among the last options for jobseekers.

Sherina cited as example that a number of engineering graduates had to undergo training to become a teacher because they could not get a job in their area of study.

“The ministry should be getting the best people for the right job and by that, we should look into increasing the wages for teachers, ” she stressed, adding that it would make more people be willing to become teachers in the future.

One of the keynote speakers, Global Teacher Prize finalist 2019 and India Early Childhood Association vice-president Swaroop Rawal said it was important to spread positive stories of educators to leaders, parents and advocates.

“Besides teaching, you need to talk about your teaching experience and journey, ” said Swaroop.

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