PUTRAJAYA: Faced with a shortfall of 700 teacher trainees, the Education Ministry is having a second intake this month.
Its deputy minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (pic), who disclosed this, said the July intake of the Bachelor in Teaching Programme (PISMP) would be conducted from July 6 to 12.
He encouraged school-leavers, especially Chinese students who had completed the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), to take up teaching, saying it was a highly regarded profession.
He said new applicants could check their eligibility for the Teacher Candidates Qualification Test (UKCG) on July 20.“The first intake at the beginning of the year saw about 1,400 applicants. But about 800 of the applicants were a no-show or failed the UKCG, which leaves us with only 600 teacher trainees.
“This is an uphill battle the ministry is facing. There are a number of teachers who retire annually while teacher trainee applicants decrease year-on-year, ” he told a press conference at the ministry yesterday.
Describing the profession as “recession-proof”, Dr Mah said teachers enjoyed many perks civil servants were entitled to.
“There is work stability, ample vacation time, fixed working hours as well as civil servant welfare for you and your family.
“Teaching is a respected profession which can bring a high sense of accomplishment in an environment that allows one to constantly learn, ” he said in dismissing negative reports about the profession.
Pointing out that a shortage of teachers was detrimental to the public education system, Dr Mah said the problem made it more difficult for the ministry to build a solid reputation for teaching and to professionalise it.
He said the ministry had reluctantly lowered the standards of last year’s intake as it actively sought candidates to boost the numbers.
“We are especially lacking in teacher trainees for arts, physical education, special needs, Science, English, music, Reka Bentuk dan Teknologi (RBT) and counselling subjects, ” he added.
Malaysian Chinese Language Council president Datuk Eddie Heng said students planning to become teachers need not “fight” over the more popular subjects such as Mathematics and Chinese, among others.
“Teacher trainees can always select the less popular subjects as mentioned by Dr Mah as their major and select the subject they are interested in teaching, such as English.
“Once you graduate as a qualified teacher, you will be able to specialise (teach) in both subjects, ” he added.
He said the council had been holding workshops jointly with teacher training institutes (IPG) to educate students and parents about the teaching profession.
Jiao Zong education bureau chief Lee Kim Wah said the decreasing number of Chinese students opting to be teachers was a cause for concern.
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