I AM writing in response to the letter “Worse off after degree” (StarEducation, March 23) The letter gives a one-sided view and fails to provide the complete picture. This case reminds me of an elder sister crying because her younger sister got a bigger slice of the cake.
Comparing this scenario with Sudham-ma’s case, we see some similarities. Is she worse off after obtaining her degree? Of course not. It is ridiculous to even suggest that the Education Ministry would penalise those who obtain higher qualifications.
Sudhamma’s juniors received a larger increment compared to hers because during the 2007 pay revision, non-graduates received 25% while graduates got 15%. She actually got her pay rise.
She is demoralised because she sees others getting more.
In fact, the Ministry had tried to address this difference by giving an extra increment to DG41 teachers who switched from the non-graduate to the graduate scheme. Still they are unhappy. They have refused to acknowledge the fact that DG41 teachers enjoy bigger allowances compared to those under DG32 (non-graduates).
They have refused to acknowledge the fact that at the end of the day they will enjoy higher pay than the DG32 teachers. Due to the 25% and 15% difference given, the DG32 teachers will initially receive a bigger pay rise. In a few years, their pay will remain stagnant.
Meanwhile, the DG41 teachers will move on to a much higher maximum salary. The ministry would not allow graduate teachers to be on a scale lower than that of non-graduates.
The DG41 scale is definitely higher than DG32, not to mention the higher allowances. In fact, a DG41 teacher will have an opportunity to move on to DG44, DG48 and maybe DG52 later on.
I am a graduate teacher on the DG48 scale. Like Sudhamma, I was also a non-graduate and I upgraded myself to the graduate scheme after obtaining a degree. My salary now is RM3,000 more than what my classmates who remained in DG32 get.
What I am trying to point out is that Sudhamma should not let this pay rise difference demoralise her. At the end of the day, her pay will be much higher than that of the junior non-graduate teachers. She should devote her focus and effort towards her work.
I know monetary gains are still of utmost importance, but as teachers, we should not let this issues affect our work.
Our responsibilities are towards our students, the parents and society. There are intangible rewards we can get. When we see that we have made a difference in improving our students, be it academically or otherwise, the joy is something money cannot buy.
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