MALAYSIAN teachers love their jobs and are among the most dedicated in the world for ensuring their students excel academically, according to the first ever Global Education Census 2018.
The census found 70% of Malaysian teachers felt teaching was a rewarding career.
The research is conducted by education organisation Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International), which is part of the University of Cambridge and prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning.
“Also, 75% of teachers who took part in the survey, run extra classes to help their students achieve good exam grades - the highest of all the countries surveyed,” said Cambridge International in a statement.
The Global Education Census is the first comprehensive global study to show what life is like in schools around the world today for students aged 12 to19 and their teachers.
In Malaysia, 477 students and 634 teachers took part in the survey.
The census focuses on 10 countries namely Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United States.
It sought the views of almost 20,000 teachers and students on topics such as best classroom practices, effective use of additional teaching and learning aids, use of technology in learning and teaching, extracurricular activities, student aspirations and teacher motivations.
Cambridge Assessment International Education regional director, Southeast Asia & Pacific Dr Ben Schmidt said: “To help the nearly one million students around the world who are taking Cambridge programmes prepare for the future, we wanted to understand what education is like across the world today.”
“We wanted to understand not only what students learn, but how, and in what context, and to share these insights with the wider education community as we explore how we evolve educational programmes to meet the changing needs of leaners, parents and educators,” he said.
The report is aimed at teachers, school leaders, and parents around the world and provides insights on a range of topics including use of technology in learning and teaching, subjects taught, extracurricular activities, student aspirations and teacher motivations.
The census revealed that Malaysian teachers are very focused on helping their students to achieve good grades, so that they can go on to fulfil their career aspirations.
Among the 10 countries surveyed, Malaysia recorded the highest percentage of teachers who invest extra time in ensuring students understand the key to acing their examinations.
The census found that three out of four teachers said they provided additional lessons and classes for their students to acquire the knowledge for success.
Additionally, the study of past exam papers is Malaysian teacher’s favourite method to help prepare their students well for exams.
When asked how they measure their own professional performance, 84 percent of Malaysian teachers scored highest in the world for saying they use exam results as a measure of their own success.
“Some 40 percent said they measure their success by the number of students who fulfil their aspirations and dreams by going on to study higher education or university courses,” it said.
In addition, Malaysian schools also came top in the census for offering careers advice to students, further supporting them to fulfil their career aspirations.
“About 70 percent of Malaysian teachers surveyed, said their school offers career and counselling services to students, more than any other country surveyed in the census,” it said.
The census also identified Malaysia as the top country for recognising academic performance of students. “A total of 45% of teachers said they hold a special assembly to recognise student achievement and 48% said they give out prizes – the highest globally,” it said.
Cambridge International supports this culture of recognising success having awarded hundreds of prizes to Malaysian students in recent years, through the annual Cambridge Assessment International Education’s Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards.
The ceremony earlier this year, awarded prizes for the November 2017 examination series for Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and Cambridge International AS and A Level, and saw 125 learners from 46 schools awarded top achiever accolades.
Education beyond the classroom
The census found that the most common subjects taken in Malaysia are Mathematics (95 percent of students study it); English Language (83 percent); and Chemistry (75 percent).
As such, teachers recognise the importance to specialise in these fields to help students prepare for higher education.
The programmes offered at Cambridge International, for students and teachers, endeavour to impart valuable knowledge and skills that go beyond academics.
To ensure students are ready for the world, Cambridge International offers a rich and varied curriculum that enables students to pursue subjects they are passionate about, but at the same time help them to develop life-long skills such as team work, leadership, the ability to think outside of the box and critical thinking.
“Cambridge International hopes that through the Global Education Census that educators in Malaysia continue to be dedicated and passionate in not only teaching, but passing on the necessary knowledge, skills and know-hows for learners to be successful academically and to be world-ready citizens,” said Dr Schmidt.
National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said this reiterates the union’s stand on the level of dedication by Malaysian teachers.
“Our teachers are hardworking but are bogged down by matters other than teaching.
“So to keep up (with the syllabus), they conduct extra classes. Some schools even have night classes before exams like the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR).
“The removal of summative examinations for Years One, Two and Three starting next year, and the promise of reducing teachers’ clerical work; Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik is working towards a better, leaner and more focused system,” he said. — By SANDHYA MENON