Last week the NST reported the uproar by teachers who were forced to transfer out of their current posting to address the imbalance of teachers distribution, especially Engllish teachers. The DPM who is also the Education Minister reiterated that the imbalance would never be addressed unless the transfer is enforced. The NUTP President, Hashim Adnan reportedly reminded the MoE to heed the teachers pleas not to be transferred and everything should be discussed.
I believe this issue has been ‘discussed’ for a long time and the MoE sometimes stand accused of being too soft in ascending to the demands of the teachers. More often than not, teachers forgot that they are above all civil servants that are liable to be transferred anywhere at anytime. If the army, the police and other PTD officers would not balk at any transfer orders, why should the teachers be different. A lot of civil servants believe that our teachers are being treated with kids glove and being mollycoddled. Granted teachers play a very crucial role for the country’s future, but this is not an excuse for them to be treated differently as far as distribution is concerned. In fact it should the impetus to ensure the distribution is fair and just. Think of the poor kids in the underprevileged areas who would be deprived of proper education and teachers’ expertise just because teachers refusal to move. I believe the current transportation and communication infrastructure has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, not many areas are now still inaccessible. I know of a civil servant who has been transferred to various states in the country for the past seven years and every time he moved without much of a peep. He decided to anchor his family in his hometown and tried as much as possible to be a weekend husband. He has been doing that for many years. This is parts and parcel of being a civil servant and should be seen as occupational hazards of being a civil servant.
Having said that, the MoE should fair and just in enforcing the exercise. We should not waver and wilt under political or any other external pressure. Once we got our data correct in treating the imbalance, we should enforce them. Then only people would see us as being fair and nobody would accused us of practicing favoutism or double standards. Under the circumstances, potential teachers would understand and appreciate what they are in for when they sign up as teachers. Practicing teachers would know that the MoE is not pussy footing or transferring teachers without merit or they could always get politicianss or top civil servants to undo any transfer order.
The NST also published a letter by one Abidzah that proposed teachers to wear uniform to gain respect of students. All I can say, respect is to be earned by the quality of your teaching, passion, care, and professionalism, not so much from the uniform. On the other hand, it may be interesting to see all teachers wearing red or blue or even green. Wonder what the politicians going to say.