Excess of Teachers in Malaysia: An Evaluation

Malaysia is now entering a second phase of 15 years to achieve Vision 2020. Accordingly, one of the important agendas of the government is to develop a world class education system. As such, the Ministry of Education has a huge responsibility in developing a human capital that is comprehensive, progressive, high in morals and also ethics. Based on this, the Ministry of Education plans to implement policies for educational development in order to achieve educational goals such as by expanding the overall potential of the individual, to produce a balanced person physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, and to enhance creativity, innovation and cultural knowledge of students, providing a more efficient, effective and world class education system.

Education plays a key role in developing a human capital that has a strong identity, competent, noble in personality, knowledgeable and highly skilled to fill the need to reach the status of a developed nation by 2020. Teachers are an important element in the success of this mission because teachers are seen as an agent in producing a civilised generation in a country. The role played by teachers in the building of society is not small, especially so in the stream of modernisation. In an effort to provide the ideal education, the Ministry of Education has developed and plans to upgrade and improve the quality of education in accordance with changes in the socialisation of society today. However, if depending on the education system alone, I feel it will not guarantee the success of this noble intention. It should be viewed in a broader scope, including about the influx of teachers in Malaysia from time to time.

Statistics today show a high level of wanting to be a teacher as a career choice in the future. It can be seen on the quota of college courses offered at public and private higher education institutions in Malaysia. The tendency of graduates who have just completed their undergraduate studies in public and private institutions choosing to become teachers after graduation is also increasing. For some, this may represent a positive improvement to education in Malaysia. However, I have opinions and different ideas on where I see the uncontrolled influx of teachers can also have negative impacts on the country in the long run. This is based on several in-depth evaluation of this issue.

The mentality widely believed that the teaching profession as a career that is easy and can save themselves from the risk of unemployment causes many people choosing to become teachers as a way out from being haunted by the problem of getting a job. In addition, it seems to have become a trend, especially among graduates who graduated from the arts. This may be influenced by several factors, some of which is having no employment opportunities after graduation, family choices in selecting courses at the university, an urgent situation, and so forth. These factors will contribute and determine the effectiveness and success of those really ingrained with the value of an educator than those who choose the profession of a teacher due to having been thrust upon it. Number of too many teachers in Malaysia is seen to give less of an impact on the realities that shape the educational process. Hence, the objective of development and consolidation of human capital should be corrected.

I have no problem with a large number of teachers if these teachers have a strong identity as an educator and shaper of the nation because I am sure they have a clear vision and mission as educators. However, what needs to be questioned is that of many teachers but not having the actual identity of true teachers will affect those educated by them. This is because I think that teachers are the icons of self-identity for the society. If teachers fail to act accordingly, educational institutions will not be able to produce a nation high of morals for the society and country. Thus, too many teachers in Malaysia is feared would reduce the overall effectiveness and focus on building the nation of Malaysia.
In addition, the lack of skilled teachers has also become an issue in the implementation of effective education. According to statistics released by the Planning Division of Education Development (Ministry of Education) in 2000, 61.8% of the teachers consist of female teachers and the Ministry of Education face the problem of placing them in rural areas, particularly in remote areas and islands. Many schools in remote areas and islands get less experienced teachers or those lacking in training. This will also lead to a mismatch in the distribution of teachers by choice. Then a situation will take place in which most teachers in schools are only teaching because they were thrust into the situation. Teachers who are not of the primary choice have to teach critical subjects like Mathematics, Science and English to meet the needs of students. Due to the lack of experience and knowledge of the subject, the integrity of the teacher in delivering knowledge to students starts to be disputed.

Based on these factors I feel that the taking of too many teachers should be reviewed on the effectiveness of educating and forming a young generation of Malaysia, thoroughly balanced in all aspects. I fear that the passion to be a teacher without a better understanding of the education system and the purpose of education in the long term would not bring a positive input to the Malaysian society. I therefore recommend that the Ministry of Education take a wise step in preparing the required number of teachers in schools, presenting a curriculum appropriate with the current needs and focusing on the welfare of teachers. In addition, I propose that the Ministry of Education to improve the teacher selection system, such as tightening the conditions and criteria for a teacher candidate recruitment. It is hoped that these recommendations will be taken seriously by the government in improving the quality of the education system in Malaysia.



Aishah O said...

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