The assistants, selected as part of a pilot project to reduce the burden on teachers in 2012, said they were notified by the Education Ministry through a WhatsApp message.
“It was an official letter but it came via WhatsApp; our schools did not receive any formal letter on the ending of our contracts.
“Our contracts ended on Nov 30, 2019, but in the past, the ministry has extended previous clerical assistants’ contracts, so we thought our contracts would be extended too,” said Siti Syarliza Md Jiwa, a clerical assistant in SK Lanai, Baling, Kedah during a press conference held by the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) here yesterday.
While their contract ended in November, Siti Syarliza said many schools requested that their clerical assistants return to continue helping their teachers.
“Schools need us and headmasters support us since with our help, teachers have more time to teach.
“Since November, our salaries are being paid by either the parent-teacher association or teachers themselves,” she said, adding that the official last day in her school is Jan 31.
The NUTP is urging the government to consider absorbing these assistant clerks into the civil service or extending their contracts
The union’s secretary-general Harry Tan will submit the appeal cases to Prime Minister and acting Education Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.“We hope these clerical assistants’ contracts will be extended and from time to time, the government can absorb them on a permanent basis as support staff in schools or even replace those who are about to retire.
“Their complaints aren’t against their salaries, which is lower than the country’s minimum wage, but for their contracts to be extended,” he said, adding that it is hard for some of them to find work as they are older.
Tan said the clerical assistants are paid RM54 daily and are meant to reduce the teachers’ burdens by carrying out work such as filing students’ data and documents online.
The pilot project was introduced in 2012 by then Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin under a pioneer programme to strengthen the teaching profession under the National Blue Ocean Strategy.
Melaka had been selected to run the pilot project, followed by Kedah.
“It has been NUTP’s fight to have such assistance for teachers but it seems the government has decided to discontinue their contracts.“We hope the government can look into absorbing these clerical assistants as they have been part of the system since 2012,” he added.