Let teachers enjoy the school holidays

TEACHERS hope they do not have to be called back during school holidays because it is their only time off from work.

A teacher from Petaling Jaya said teachers deserve time off during the school holidays to recuperate. She said teachers have the right to time for themselves and their families after shouldering a sizable workload during the school term.

“Teachers need a break from the heavy workload,” she said.

Another teacher from Petaling Jaya, said teachers should not be the ones holding the fort when the principal is absent from school.

“The principal needs to be in school to answer to the Education Ministry or state education department should they visit or make any inquiries,” she said.

She added that there must be at least another person of authority to represent the school even if the principal is not present.

However, she said it is necessary to work at some point during the year end break to prepare for the new school year.

“We have to make a good first impression to parents and students when they come to school on the first day,” she said.

In contrast, a teacher from Kuala Selangor said teachers from her area were rarely recalled back to work during the school break.

She said teachers were told to complete their work before the last day of school as federal inspectors would be auditing the school during that time.

“The directive from our principal was to complete our work and submit it to her before we leave for the break,” said the teacher who has been in the profession for the past 35 years.

Education deputy director-general Aminudin Adam earlier said the ministry has received complaints from teachers who were unhappy about being summoned back during the break.

He said a 40-year-old directive by the Education Ministry clearly states that headmasters have the authority to recall teachers for up to half the number of school holidays in a given year.

On Nov 25, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid wrote in a Facebook post that during the school holidays, teachers should only be present for formal duties such as attending courses and to invigilate examinations such as the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia.

“They should not be in charge of looking after the school offices in turns,” he wrote in the post.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan concurred with Mahdzir, saying that watching over schools is not a teachers’ duty.

“Teachers do not have executive powers like headmasters and senior assistants do.

“They can’t open letters, direct the clerks or even the cleaners...so they serve no purpose except to watch over the school without students, and this is not their duty in the first place,” he added.

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