Teachers want their voices heard in political activities

PETALING JAYA: Teachers are in support of having their voices heard in political activities so they can make a difference in the education system.

This comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement that all teachers under the Education Ministry and Community Development Department (Kemas) were now allowed to get involved in politics, a move that has been welcomed by some teachers.

A teacher from a secondary school in Sabah, who only wants to be known as Jonathan, said teachers’ voices and vision for the system has remained largely suppressed due to their lack of autonomy.

“It is the right move.

“If we want to revolutionise our education, we need experienced teachers to have influence in our policies,” he said.

Another teacher from a secondary school in the Klang Valley, who only wants to be known as Jay, said this is an important move if they can actively make a difference within the system.

Jay said politics needs to evolve, adding that the announcement was made at the right time as change is needed.

“This change should come from teachers because who better to do it than us.

“We educate our students on various things and the kind of background a teacher has would suit their involvement in politics.

“We can bring about a lot of changes in the education system; imagine the policies that have not materialised and those that require updating – teachers will be there at the core of it,” he said, while cautioning teachers not to mix politics with education.

National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said teachers’ involvement in politics will not lead to them compromising their existing duties towards the school and schoolchildren as the Education Ministry would issue guidelines and circulars on the dos and don’ts.

“Teachers must focus on their duties as educators first. They are professionals and know what to do.

“If they want to get very actively involved in politics, then they should resign,” he said.

The NUTP, Wang said in a statement on Jan 22, welcomed Ismail Sabri’s announcement as teachers have played an important role in attaining the country’s independence and in developing the country.

He, however, stressed that there should be no hidden conditions for teachers to participate in politics and that the government should make it official for teachers to be involved in politics.

“NUTP hopes that when a circular is issued on this, it doesn’t contain any hidden conditions that will result in problems for teachers later on,” he said in the statement.

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