Teacher Council or toothless tiger?


I wish to comment on the recent proposal by the Government to set up a Teachers Council on par with the Bar Council and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC). Despite what has been reported in the media, parents like me are still very much mystified over the purpose of having such a body. To say that the Teachers Council will be on par with the Bar Council or the MMC, sounds rather incredible. 

However, teachers are a different kettle of fish. A recent report by the Education Ministry says that only 20% of secondary school teachers are university graduates. The rest are either post-SPM or STPM certificate/diploma holders. To say that paper qualification is not important in placing someone in the “professional” category is, to me, rather questionable. 

Let’s take a hard look at most of our school teachers. How are they different from other civil servants in the country? To say that teaching merits more consideration is hard to swallow. Besides, are teachers not well represented by their own professional body, the National Union of the Teaching Profession?  

From what I understand, the proposed Teachers Council is meant only for primary and secondary school teachers of national schools, all of whom are employed by the Government.  

What about private school teachers and pre-school teachers? Are they less worthy of consideration? What kind of independent body can one create if all its members have one employer, in this case, the Ministry of Education?  

Forgive me if I sound sceptical of the government’s noble intention. No clear explanation has been given to the public on the need to create such a body. There have been enough cases of abuse and sloth in the teaching profession. One often hears of errant teachers being transferred out of one school to another at the first hint of trouble. 

What punitive measures or arbitrary role would the proposed council undertake, when faced with evidence of wrongdoing by its members?  

An Education Ministry official recently stated that the council will not be empowered to take disciplinary action against the profession’s black sheep. If so, are we to expect a toothless tiger? 

As a parent, I have met few teachers who are truly dedicated. To mould the minds of the young, we need learned individuals who are both rich in knowledge and articulate. 

As long as we keep passing the buck and deny the responsibility of facing up to the truth of what is real and happening in the average Malaysian classroom, we will never redress the problem. 

 

NIROSHA SEN 

Ipoh, Perak  

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