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  • Farah Salim

System main factor of teachers quitting early

19 April 2022

By Farah Salim

KUALA LUMPUR: The education system is what drives teachers in the country to quit or retire early, said a teacher.

Stephen Isaac was responding to Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan’s statement who said government intervention is needed to prevent an educational crisis with more teachers opting to retire early.

The urgency was made in fear of losing experienced teachers and deteriorating the quality of the education system.

Mohamad said the Covid-19 pandemic may have contributed to this trend, as well as the increasing non-teaching responsibilities taking a toll on the teachers.

The Ministry of Education reported that it received a total of 4,360 optional retirement applications as of November last year.

Stephen said the reason that most teachers quit has nothing to do with the students.

He said he personally knows teachers who have retired early, applied for early retirement, or quit early and gave several reasons for their decision.

One of the reasons being: “The system prioritises non-teaching work over the very thing which teachers love most - teaching and educating their students.

“As soon as they step out of class after teaching, all their 'paperwork' related tasks are immediately a priority. This reduces the time they need to prepare for their lesson. Teaching quality suffers,” he wrote in his Facebook posting.

Stephen also rephrased that teachers seem unable to question the system or provide ideas that might help it work better.

“It is always the (unquestionable) top-to-bottom approach instead of bottom-up.

“Differences of opinion are not welcome. 'Yes man' attitudes are.

“Their current school heads are more grade-oriented than those they knew when they first started teaching. So much emphasis is placed on achieving good results instead of the well-being of teachers,” he added.

He also mentioned that educators lack resources, support, and encouragement yet they are still expected to perform despite these shortcomings.

“Their concerns are always overlooked and ignored. When parents raise a concern, immediate action is always taken.

“Parental concerns are privileged over teachers' welfare in the current school system.”

Earlier, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Wang Heng Suan estimated that more than 10,000 have been submitting their papers annually for early retirement over the last few years.

This is in addition to an equal number of teachers leaving the service on mandatory retirement.


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