M’sia in need of multitalented individuals

KLANG: Multitalented individuals and youths are needed for a country to thrive, said Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (pic).

Noting that being “book smart” is not merely enough to guarantee a successful career and future, the Deputy Education Minister said society should change its perception that only getting a great academic result leads to a bright future.

Scoring a string of As in exams does not guarantee a student’s success in life, Dr Mah said, adding that result-oriented culture has been overly ingrained into Malaysians.

“Many world-class scientists and inventors who’ve made substantial contributions to science may not have done exceptionally well in studies during their schooling days, ” he said.

Dr Mah advised parents to adopt Harvard University’s renowned developmental psychologist Prof Howard Earl Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.

He shared that Prof Gardner’s eight intelligences theory consisted of logical, mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal elements.

“Parents should strive to identify their children’s talents, to encourage and nurture them to be multitalented as early as possible.

“The traditional teaching method used since the 60s and 70s should not be implemented on children of this modern and technological era.

“We have to look at the big picture and think forward. We are preparing the children of today to be ready for the future – the Fourth Industrial Revolution – which focuses on digital, data, Artificial Intelligence and more, ” he said when launching the “I Want To Be A Teacher” event at Kwang Hua Private High School here yesterday.

Noting that there is a shortfall of teacher trainees in every recruitment drive annually, Dr Mah said the dwindling number of youths opting to be teachers is a huge cause for concern.

“The shortfall of teachers does not only exist in Chinese primary, secondary and independent schools, it is also very much prevalent in national primary and secondary schools (SK and SMK).

“To be transparent, these schools (SK, SMK) actually face a higher rate of teacher shortage compared to Chinese primary and secondary schools (SJK (C) and SMJK).

Dr Mah added that the issue must be taken seriously because it affects youths – the future leaders of the nation.

Noting that respect for teachers is greatly lacking in society, he said: “The people, especially youths, should learn how to respect those in the teaching profession.”

“In Chinese culture, teachers are engineers of the human soul. They nourish and nurture us (with care and knowledge), helping us build ourselves from within, ” he added.

“Shouldn’t teachers deserve more respect and recognition?” he asked.

Dr Mah added that he hopes more youngsters would join the noble profession.

Describing the profession as “recession-proof”, he said teachers enjoyed many perks civil servants were entitled to.

“The highest salary a teacher could receive is over RM9,000 (based on the years of service). The salary would be higher for school management staff.

“There is work stability, ample vacation time, fixed working hours, civil service welfare for you and your family as well as workshops for self-improvement.

“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.

He added that the ministry was especially lacking in teachers for physical education, Reka Bentuk dan Teknologi (RBT) and arts (seni visual), aside from special needs, Science, English, music and counselling subjects.

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