Of teachers and their working conditions

This maybe a bit personal,
I want to congratulate the missus on her promotion to the principalship of a school. For teachers to reach such a position is the penultimate attainment in so far as teaching in a school is concerned. Unless you move up to the other administrative channels at districts or state or federal level, a principal is the Boss in a school. I must say unashamedly or I maybe a bit biased, she more than deserved it, after working tirelessly for 24 years! Unfortunately, like her, many of the teachers hardly get any promotion even after serving for 20 years. Thousands retired in the same positions as they started working. Unlike those in other services who would be in some sort of big positions even after only 10 years. I am partly responsible for delaying her promotion, I dare say. If she were to remain in that East Malaysian state, she would have attained that status many moons ago, like her colleagues who stay put, or least if I were to take her to the less populated states like Kelantan, Terengganu or Kedah, she would have attained the position many years ago. I also dare say that if she were a man she would have attained the position a few years back. The issue here is, promotion for teachers not only based on merit but also on territorial, gender, or maybe race to the lesser extent. And silently on ‘know who’ basis. Of course one might say these days there are better options for teachers with the inception of Super Teachers that may attain a grade even higher than a state director. Ok we are thankful to the government for that. But they are almost 300 thousands teachers including those in the offices at the district, state and federal levels.

Staying with issue of teachers, I would like to see better conditions of the staff rooms. Imagine a graduate officer has to compete for tables and chairs in the crowded staff rooms. The problems are more prominent in the double sessions schools. In terms of facilities and working conditions, why should they be different from other government officers? If I am not mistaken there is standard set by the Government in terms of room size, chairs, tables, and other facilities for government officers set according to their grades in the service. Most of the school teachers these days are Grade A officers and they should be treated as such. Recent survey of 755 teachers in the administrative position in the 88 smart schools in the country indicated that 81% (612) are degree holders, 14% (108) Masters Degree holders and almost 1% (4) even have doctorates. These are no mean bunch of people to be treated as they are treated now. No wonder parents these days are saying to children ‘if you do not study hard you’ll end up as teachers!’. Well, all the jobs of collecting rubbish, sweeping roads, watchmen, tea ladies, shampoo girls, pasar malam helpers, toilet cleaners etc are all gone to the Indons, Banglas, Pakis, Nepalese etc…Thats another story.

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