Vernacular schools desperately short of teachers

Compiled by C. ARUNO and JO TIMBUONG

CHINESE educationist groups and educators have urged the government to look into the shortage of teachers for vernacular schools, including Tamil schools, in the

wake of the Education Ministry’s announcement that it was hiring 18,000 schoolteachers this year.

Sin Chew Daily quoted Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (pic) as saying he has had meetings with groups including Dong Zong, Jiao Zong, the Chinese Language Council, the National Union of Heads of Schools and the Malaysian Conforming Secondary Schools Principals Council since the announcement was made last week, to discuss the perennial staffing problems faced by schools in the country.

“All these groups hope that the Education Ministry’s plan will take into consideration the shortage of teachers currently faced by Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, as well as a shortage of Chinese language teachers in secondary schools,” he said in a statement.

Dr Mah added that he will inform the relevant ministries regarding the issues faced by these schools so that hiring requirements are set to ensure that the shortages can be addressed.

He noted that over the last five years, the number of teacher training openings allocated to Chinese vernacular schools have never been fully taken up.

This was despite the offer of teacher training courses

to 20 graduates of independent Chinese schools every year since 2011, he said.

“In the first year, we took on 14 trainee teachers. In 2012, there were only 11,” he

said, adding that the number fell to single digits between 2013 and 2019.

Dr Mah said he will have discussions with the relevant ministries to encourage more people to enrol for teacher training courses.

Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Jidin recently announced that there will be a “one-off” admission of 18,000

Grade DG41 teachers this year to address the shortage of teaching staff.

He said Selangor, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak are the four main states that urgently require new teachers and those hired in this intake are expected to be stationed at their new schools by October.

> The same daily also reported that Malaysian singer Fish Leong was revealed to be the anonymous donor who contributed a “six-figure sum” to Sin Chew Daily’s Covid-19 fund in 2020.

“Even though Fish is currently in Taiwan and is unable to return to Malaysia, she has always been concerned about the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia.

“When she heard about this initiative, she told me to get in touch with a representative of the fund and subsequently help her make the donation,” said her manager.

The news was also corroborated by Yayasan Sin Chew, which said it received a “six-figure sum” from Leong in April last year, but she requested that her donation not be publicised.

Leong, who is originally from Negri Sembilan, is known to be a generous donor.

The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

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