TEACHERS are the drivers of change.
Not only in the lives of their charges but they also have a major impact on the nation’s education system.
Recognising a teacher’s role as a catalyst of change, the Education Ministry made “Teachers are the drivers of education transformation” as this year’s Teachers Day theme.
Former Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad said he hopes teachers will continue to embrace the challenge and be agents of change for the betterment of Malaysia’s education system.
Dr Khair is the recipient of this year’s Education Leadership Icon Award 2018 during the National Teachers Day celebration that was held in Putrajaya on Wednesday.
Dr Khair said the transformation has to begin in the classroom.
A sentiment echoed by his successor Datuk Dr Amin Senin.
“Teachers are the most important people to ensure that students are able to learn well and gain knowledge within the classroom,” added Dr Khair.
At the same time, he added that, teachers are also moulding their students into holistic, well-mannered and civil Malaysian citizens.
If each teacher could commit to their roles as educators in each of the estimated 300,000 classrooms in national schools, he said: “a huge transformation can take place in our education system.”
Dr Khair also welcomed the suggestion to have teaching assistants for teachers across the nation.
This move, he believed, will further spur the growth of the country’s education system that will ultimately benefit society.
This, he added, would greatly help the teachers, especially those in urban schools where the teacher-student ratio is high.
National Teacher Icon Award 2018 recipient Hamzah Othman said there is no doubt that teachers are the main drivers in transforming the education system.
He added that the Education Ministry is playing a big role in facilitating this change by implementing new policies.
It also provides various teaching aids and toolkits for teachers to use.
However, he said that “teachers need to have a lot of creativity to actually use all those toolkits.”
He asked how many teachers are able to understand these, adding that this is where failure happens.
Hamzah, who is also the first classroom teacher to receive the award, said teachers should be creative when evaluating students.
“Teachers need to be creative as excellent, average and weak students need to be assessed differently.
“A single form of evaluation cannot be used for all,” he said.
Dr Khair added that it is not a student’s academic abilities that would affect the type of assessment to be used, but also whether the student has special learning needs.
Hamzah who is based in Terengganu, created the Cognitive Acceleration Programme.
The programme was recognised by the Economic Planning Unit and he was entrusted to bring the programme to students who need extra attention.
Hamzah is still involved in the programme, which has helped over 100,000 students improve their academic performance.
Both Dr Khair and Hamzah each received a medal, plaque, certificate and RM10,000 cash as part of their awards.
They also received RM30,000 from the Tun Hussein Onn Foundation and RM5,000 from Bank Islam each.
During the National Teachers Day celebration, Dr Amin said teachers are a critical factor in ensuring the success of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
“The transformation of education as a whole can be felt if transformation happens within the classroom,” he added.
He said teachers, as front liners, and ministry leaders need to be on the same wavelength in order to successfully change the education landscape.
He also thanked the teachers for contributing to student outcomes, no matter how small a part they played in their students’ lives.
Education secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad said teachers should remain disciplined and committed to achieving the nation’s education aspirations whether they are serving in urban, semi-urban or rural areas.