FORMER education deputy director-general (teaching professionalism development sector) Datuk Asariah Mior Shaharuddin said getting the National Education Leadership Icon Award 2019 was unexpected.
“I retired from the Education Ministry almost eight years ago.
“I feel honoured but very humbled about the award at the same time.
“But as a Muslim, I regard this as a very special gift from Allah during this holy month of Ramadan.
“I am glad that my contribution, especially in the field of teacher education, is being recognised,” she said in an interview.
Retired teacher Nawi Ismail received the National Teacher Icon Award 2019.
Both of them received RM50,000 each, a gold medal and an appreciation plaque from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the national Teachers Day celebration in Penang on May 16.
Since her retirement, Asariah has been spending more time with her family.
“My grandsons, Ami Hady and Ami Hariz, took time off from school with their headmaster’s permission, to be with grandma at the award presentation,” she said.
Asariah said she could not have achieved success if not for the the help and support of her colleagues, staff and superiors.
“I dedicate this award to them and my parents,” she said.
Some of the achievements include upgrading teacher training colleges to become degree awarding institutions, which are now known as teacher education institutes (IPGs), pioneering graduate level teacher training for primary school teachers and enabling secondary school teachers to become graduate teachers and be placed on a higher scale in the Education Service Scheme.
“Developing postgraduate programmes for primary school teachers was historic because this led to the placement of graduate teachers in our primary schools for the first time in the Malaysian education system.
“We continued with developing Bachelor of Teaching (Primary School) programmes for prospective primary school teachers.
“Now these courses are being run in IPGs in line with the ministry’s policy of ensuring highly qualified teachers are placed in all primary schools throughout the country,” she added.
All these efforts enabled the uplifting of the status of the teaching profession, she said.
Although retired, Asariah has been quite involved with work related to education.
“As a board of trustee member at Yayasan Johawaki, we do motivational programmes for the foundation’s adopted children and charitable work for the underprivileged,” she said.
Asariah is also Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences’ board of governors’ member, Idrissi International School board of curriculum studies member and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Complaints Committee member.
Asariah is helping some rural schools on their development programmes.
“One such school is SK Cikgu Mior Shaharuddin in Parit, Perak. It is named after my late father who as a teacher and later a headmaster, devoted himself to the school.
“In fact the kampung folks and my father built the school in the 1940s using local materials. After independence, the school was given aid by the government,” she said, adding that she and her siblings attended the school there.