KUALA LUMPUR: There are more Malay teachers in national schools because non-Malays do not consider teaching a “preferred profession,” said Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad.
“We have a policy to employ more non-Malay teachers but are hampered by the (few) number of good applicants, particularly among Chinese and Indians, who I suspect do not consider teaching a preferred profession.
“There have been more Malay teachers in schools all these years because of this phenomenon,” Musa said after opening the Asia-Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres (Aspac) 2003 Conference hosted by Petrosains here yesterday.
He added, however, that the ministry expected the trend to change over the years with specific strategies undertaken to attract more non-Malays to the profession.
They include increasing the number of places in teacher training colleges, having walk-in interviews and encouraging universities to open up more Indian and Chinese Studies centres.
“We expect good results from these strategies. But it will take time for them to be effective,” he said.
On the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English which started for Year One, Form One and Lower Six students from January, Musa said initial feedback showed that Year One pupils appeared more enthusiastic, less mischievous, less distracted, more attached to their teachers and able to learn concepts faster although they were doing it in English.
“Teachers are also coping quite well. I must note that in primary schools we do have some problems as not all the teachers are proficient in English.
“But I admit, the teachers are brave. They take time to learn the lessons first before teaching, like learning to pronounce English words properly.
“Some do use Bahasa Malaysia but I guess it can be tolerated in the beginning,” he added.
Musa said the Schools Inspectorate Division would soon visit schools to assess the effectiveness of learning the subjects in English.
Commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call on Friday for schools with a predominant racial group to embark on “twinning programmes” with schools having more students from a another racial group, Musa said it was currently being carried out in a number of schools.
“The responsibility has been given to district education offices to carry out such activities,” he said, adding that more national and national-type schools would respond to this call.
Aspac 2003, themed “Science Centres: Learning Centres,” seeks to share how science discovery centres and other informal learning centres can spark greater interest in Science, Mathematics and technology, and play a vital role in the community in promoting lifelong learning.
The conference ends tomorrow.
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