Willing to teach but turned away

  • Letters
  • Sunday, 09 Mar 2003

YOUR report, “Non-Malays avoid teaching’’ (The Star, March 4), quoted Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad as saying that non-Malays do not consider teaching a preferred profession, which is true most of the time. 

“We have a policy to employ more non-Malay teachers but are hampered by the (few) number of good applicants, particularly among Chinese and Indians,’’ said the Minister. 

Really? Let me share my daughter's experience. In January last year, my daughter, who was then doing the A-level course in a local private college, wrote to the Public Service Department (JPA) to apply for a teaching scholarship. 

Together with her application, she enclosed copies of her PMR, SPM and A-level forecast results (7A's, 9A's and 4A's respectively) and evidence that she had been accepted by five universities in the UK, some of which were reputable ones, to read chemistry. 

She also mentioned in her letter that in fulfilment of her scholarship bond, she was willing to teach anywhere in the country. 

Many family members thought she was crazy but she chose to follow her heart after seeking counsel with members of the teaching profession.  

The reply that came from the JPA was that there was no allocation for “current year’’ applications, whatever that means.  

My daughter did score 4As in the A-level examination in June in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. She is now reading chemistry in the UK and has since found out that teachers (especially dedicated ones) are in short supply all over the world.  

I know for a fact that our country has a great shortage of science teachers who are fluent in English. Together with the minister's criteria of Chinese and “good applicants,’’ one would expect the JPA to somehow find the allocation to train my daughter to help meet the need of the country.  

Mind you, she asked to take up teaching as a first choice, not as a last resort after having been rejected by other professions.  

Time and again, we see that what ministers declare publicly and what really takes place can be very different, and this seems to be one of them.  



Kuala Lumpur  

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