Teachers give up free time to fill in for classes

JOHOR BARU: Teachers in several schools have been “stretched” to the point where they are sacrificing their free time to take on other subjects due to a staff shortage.

SJK (C) Kuo Kuang Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman Tan Yi Hong said there has been a shortage of teachers for the English and Chinese language subjects in the school since last year.

“We have been hiring part-time teachers to fill the gap, but they are difficult to come by.

“Some teachers of other subjects have volunteered to take on a greater workload by giving up their free time, which is usually used for rest or to mark pupils’ homework, to fill in for classes.

“As a token of appreciation, the PTA gives them an allowance, but this solution is not very conducive for the teachers and pupils alike,” he said.

Tan said there were also times when the school’s assistant headmasters had to step in to conduct classes so that the pupils would not fall behind in their lessons.

He said after the retirement and departure of teachers recently, the school was left with about 100 teachers with a pupil enrolment of 1,500, adding that there was a severe shortage of teachers for special education (Pendidikan Khas).

JiShan Single Mothers Club chairman Goh Teck Kuan, who has been helping families with special needs children for the past three years, said special education teachers were even harder to come by because they needed specific qualifications.

“Besides the lack of teachers in mainstream education, the Education Ministry should also seriously look into the lack of special education teachers, as otherwise it could be detrimental to the special needs community.

“Children with special needs do have hidden talents and they can thrive with proper guidance and education. It will be a shame for it to go to waste because of the lack of attention from qualified teachers,” he said.

On March 30, Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying told the Dewan Rakyat that the ministry had identified six core subjects for which additional teachers were required.

The subjects were Bahasa Melayu, English, Islamic Studies, Design and Technology, Visual Arts Education and History.

Lim was quoted as saying that the ministry had plans to recruit teachers from April to June this year.

A member of another PTA in Johor Baru who declined to be identified said they had “got used” to the lack of teachers as it was a longstanding issue.

“In my school, there is a lack of English teachers. As such, teachers who studied English as a minor in university were proposed as substitute teachers to fill in the gap.

“Of course, they are trained by specialist teachers or experienced teachers from the district education office before they are allowed to conduct classes,” he said.

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Teachers , schools , staff shortage


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