PENANG: Kelantanese teacher K.A. Razhiyah Mohamed has a gift in guiding special students to excel and compete among able-bodied students.
For her dedication in bringing out the best in disabled students, 43-year-old Razhiyah was awarded this year’s Special Education Teacher Award at the national-level Teachers Day celebrations here yesterday.
The college-trained music and English teacher first taught at two regular schools before enrolling for a one-year course in special education for the hearing impaired “just for the challenge”.
At Sekolah Rendah Pendidikan Khas Kota Baru, she led her hearing impaired students in outdoing other students from 32 schools in the state drama competition in 1992 while another student of hers won the best actress award.
“With love and training, they can be like other children. I don’t want them to compete only among themselves but with other students, and seeing their success makes me so happy,” she said in an interview.
After completing a degree in special education at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1993, she taught at SMK Ismail Petra in Kota Baru before joining her present school, SMK Tanjong Mas, also in Kota Baru, which has mentally impaired children in its student body.
Razhiyah, who believes that “you must love your job,” has also written novels, short stories and scripts for local television on the lives of special children and their families.
Her German engineer husband Farouk @ Klaus Muller, 42, said she worked even on weekends and would be on the lookout for teaching ideas wherever they went for holidays.
Earlier, Razhiyah received her award from Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon at a lunch hosted by the state and attended by some 1,800 teachers and education officers.
Also present were Education director-general Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat, secretary-general Datuk Ambrin Buang, state Education director Dawa Abdullah and state Education Committee chairman Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon.
The overall champion of the Innovative Teachers Award went to seven teachers from SMK Tambunan in Sabah, namely Roffina Hendry, Norhaidah Talikun, Helen Joseph, Catherine Sompot, Suzeni @ Alice Kogid, Helen Gurini and George Gumpah.
Champions for the individual category for primary schools and secondary schools were Rubiah Sidik from SK Laksamana, Kota Tinggi, Johor and Mohd Nazeri Abdul Rahman from SMK St Mary, Sandakan, Sabah respectively.
In his speech, Dr Koh said the 300,000 teachers in the country had some five million students under their guidance and teachers therefore played a major role in moulding the younger generation and in determining the direction of the nation’s future.