Poor quality recruits, teacher training led to education decline?

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Khong Kah Yeong wonders how many educators in service had a burning desire to be teachers in the first place.

A number of writers have bemoaned the low standard of education in the country.

The present situation of education in the country could well be the result of a combination of factors. A few of these have already been mentioned by various commentators and readers.

Perhaps the recruitment of trainees into the teachers training colleges is worth a mention.

I once met a retired senior education officer who had been appointed to hold an important position in the teachers’ commission at an informal festive gathering. In an unguarded moment, he lamented the quality of applicants he had to deal with and accept into teacher training colleges just to fill up the colleges. Not infrequently, the commission had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to do that.

Apparently, many of the applicants, especially the males, were not really interested in teaching as a career but had applied simply because they could not find a job elsewhere. Their ambition had always been for some other more glamorous profession.

Is it any surprise that we have teachers who do not really bother to prepare their school lessons well. Many don’t even try and have some depth of knowledge in the subjects they are supposed to teach.

READ MORE:  Just let us teach, teachers cry out

In my granddaughter’s school, she had an English teacher telling the class not to keep their “angry” to themselves and that they should always let it out! The teacher then proceeded to mark my granddaughter’s examples of sentences as wrong because they were “statements” and not sentences! Aren’t statements sentences?

Besides that, the teacher’s pronunciations of certain words especially those derived from French (like lingerie) left much to be desired. But she insisted her pronunciations were correct when my granddaughter and one of her friends pointed them out.

Can you blame me if I am reluctant to reproach my granddaughter for paying scant attention and having low esteem for her English teacher? Especially when I have seen her having no problem with the exercises in a book published by one of the two oldest universities in the UK for the learning of advanced English for secondary school students.

Her additional mathematics teacher could not answer her sometimes cheeky questions on why certain formulae were the way they were. In this case, the teacher was at least honest enough to say, “Saya pun tak tahu. Salinlah dan buat saje”!

Could such teachers be the products of a weak lecturer in the training college from which they graduated? Could their lecturer be one of those rare ones who taught that the inflections for “drink” are “drink, drank, drunk” and for “bring” are “bring, brang, brung”! Huh?

I shall leave readers to decide.

Khong Kah Yeong is an Aliran newsletter subscriber who has some acquaintance with Malaysian schools.

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Dr. SNaidushaktar ausRavinder SinghBeatrice FernandezSharon Bakar Recent comment authors
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Dr. SNaidu
Dr. SNaidu

Important discussion. For OUR COMMON future. My little take is, the school ouput, is the issue. All schools-rural, urban, need to do really better. NATIONHOOD VALUES EDN URGENT. Let’s reinvent ourselves from where we are now. State and District education depts exist. Positive intensive monitoring, guidance is required. Teachers AND sch heads PARTICULARLY, generally are the jointly ‘Charged’. No POLITICS please.’Quality’ public SERVANTS fr now on, as much as it is really possible.’GOOD’ students for all major professions as such.Based on student interests, orientations, then channel applicants for all other fields. NOTHING is higher, lower.ALL WORK-good,needed. LIFE is truly interdependent, in GOD. Single ethnic edn systms gradually out…

Ravinder Singh

In the 1970’s and 80s, “trainees” taken into the colleges were those who could not get into any other institutions of higher learning. There were also graduates in fields other than education who were jobless and they were taken in for a 1 year “Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah”. This was one factor – persons not fit to be teachers or not interested in teaching. Another was the teacher trainers. Some of them were deadwood from the schools taken in based on “high” recommendations from the schools that wanted them out of the schools. What do you get with poor quality or wrong quality raw materials and poor quality artisans charged to produced “good” quality products? This was a far cry from the 1950’s when students had to have a Grade 1 Senior Cambridge Certificate to enter teaching and the lecturers were hand picked from among the best teachers in schools.

Sharon Bakar

Absolutely true from my teacher training experience – the quality of recruits is nowhere near as high as it needs to be. The best students (and regardless of race! no quotas please!) should go in to teaching and be paid well. This is the simplest and shortest way to improving standards.

shaktar aus
shaktar aus

i beg to differ unfortunately, yes the training should be strengthened and pay should rise but best students *should* join the education industry? no, it is their choice to choose what course they want (why would they want to join a tiring job when they can be a doctor/any high paying jobs? Being the best doesnt mean they should enter teaching). If u meant *should consider with high pay increment and appropriate promotion* then yes.

Beatrice Fernandez

My daughter sometimes ask me for money she will say mummy can I borrow me some money I asked her where did you learn that we don’t speak like that she said in school I wanted to give it to her can I blame her

Michael Tan Eng Hong

Right on the dot!!!!!!

Rajan Subramaniam

Pay peanuts and you expect what!!.. Teachers earn more non taxed money through tuitions… So why bother doing the hard work at school..theae days we have tuition for standard 1!!!!!!…also stop politicising education… Started with tun and I hope he will end it…

Tony Tan CL

No political will to change the system and downsize the religious classes even we have a new minister and government! The victims are the Malays who firm the bulk of the students?

Thurai Singam Chandra Sehkaran

Real problem is teachers can’t create workable apprentices in local district.
That’s why migration become major solution to all spm leavers!
Main fault by district office & district labor office!

Mokka Sancha Hii

One size doesn’t fit all. Legalize Homeschooling / unschooling.

Stella Perera

Don’t dream of a better education system. The mindset is the same. Religion rules. Other topics are not important. The children are divided into non Muslims and Muslims. Can a nation move forward with these type of attitude.?

Ravi Arumugam

The main worry about our education system is that everything seems to be influenced by religion!
Is it just me or my imagination?
Look at the issue in this way:
– how could you get the best as a student when the playing ground is not equal?
– how would you expect mutual respect among the students when you’re taught to believe you’re superior to others?
– the situation is not severe in primary schools but the paradigm shift begins here and gets worse at secondary level and we go bonkers from there onwards.
Quota system kicks in and the rest is history.
Bitter, cold hard truth.

Kpo Junnie

With the present attitude of some parents good teachers are hard to come by. There wire surprised to find some parents who told teacher that they must not scold their child. Sad but true this is a real slap for the teachers who are trying hard to be good.

Lim Heng Hin

It’s not only the teachers, the whole system as well is biased and based on Islamic values too All these components won’t make a student better. First of all you got to get rid of the Education Minister which is the biggest hindrance now!You got to buy this. Cheers!

Frank Meeng

Lim Heng Hin…I’ve to agree with you on that same nerve, that too much emphasis was accorded towards islamic religious education,so much so that even the privately owned sekolah pondok and tahfiz is now under the perview of sekolah kebangsaan( nationaal type school) but too little was being done on the academic betternent and achievement.

Yvonne Yuen

Remember the era when our teachers were sent to Kirkby for training? Those were gems.

Bernard Paul

Tepat sekali. Half past six recruits means half past six ‘professionals’.

Keat Lee

Not surprised at all. The cream of the cream are sent overseas whilst the next level (lower) are given places in local public universities. The next level would be given places in Mara colleges and so the remnants would have to seek places in teacher training colleges and nursing schools. That’s the reality! No?

Thomas Chan

Bullseye. Core issue.