KLANG: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik wants teachers to play a pivotal role in inculcating good values in students in addition to teaching them the 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic).
He said good values will become the fourth R in the system for character building which should begin from primary school.
"In some countries, such as Finland for instance, it is a crime for teachers to even conduct exams from primary to Form Three.
"This is because this period is used to build the characters of the students," Dr Maszlee said in his speech at the opening of the maiden Educational Professionalism seminar for young teachers at a hotel here Tuesday (Aug 28) night.
Dr Maszlee also reminded the teachers that they were in a profession which was noble and required a lot of sacrifice.
He said a teacher asked had him if he could be transferred back to his home state of Kedah from his current posting in Sabah where he has been teaching for two years.
"I told him that he should not see his placement in Sabah there as a burden but instead an opportunity to help Sabah's future generation benefit from education,'' said Dr Maszlee.
He said he told the teacher that he hoped Sabah and Sarawak will grow bigger under the new Malaysia and that he (the teacher) will be playing a role in achieving this.
Dr Mazlee also promised the young teachers attending the event that he would try his best to make teaching an enjoyable and fulfilling profession as opposed to becoming a burden to them.
He also added Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had asked him to convey to them of the role of teachers needed to play to build the future generation.
Dr Mazlee also raised the question as to why people were not as hard working as the Japanese who strove very hard in their endeavours.
He said it was also found that the attitude and mindset of people in developed nations were not found in those from developing nations.
According to Dr Mazlee, it was a common thing for people to experience collective shame if something was not right in their countries such as dirty places and bad roads.
He said it was this feeling of collective shame that made them forge ahead and achieve success.
"We should inculcate this in students from primary to secondary schools so that they will feel the same when things are not right,'' he added.
He said primary education, especially, should emphasis on character building instead of being too exam-oriented.