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Blueprint for better teachers

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CHOICE PROFESSION: Focus now is on training and hiring the best, says DPM

 PETALING JAYA: THE Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 plans to make teaching a preferred profession.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the blueprint aimed to have the best teachers as the nation strived to catch up with other advanced countries in the education sector.

He said one of the ways to ensure this was by attracting the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia top scorers into the teaching fraternity.

"We want to set a higher benchmark than the current situation. These are the people we want," Muhyiddin said during TV3's Soal Jawab programme hosted by Datuk Ahmad A. Talib last night.

He said the blueprint also wanted schools to have qualified headmaster.

"We need good headmasters. Schools with low achievements will get good headmasters so that the schools can improve and the headmasters will be tested on their competencies."

Muhyiddin said the blueprint's main objective was to raise the quality of education in the country, and one of the ways to achieving this was to focus on training and hiring good teachers.

"We need teachers with higher-order thinking skills to create good students."

Muhyiddin said teachers needed to be retrained to achieve this skill. "The only result we will get from this is quality students as the type of questions in examinations will also incorporate elements of the higher-order thinking skills."

Muhyiddin stressed that teachers needed to specialise in their fields of training. "If they were trained to teach English, then they should stick to teaching English. Same goes if they were trained to teach Science or Mathematics."

On whether the added workload may discourage teachers, he said though it might be a cause for concern for some, about 60 per cent of teachers remained in the job for the next 20 years.

Muhyiddin said the ministry was aware that a better compensation scheme was needed for teachers doing extra work.

"We need to have better promotions, salaries and allowances to commensurate with their extra work," he said, adding that the ministry would also look at exit plans for teachers, such as placing them in administrative positions.

Another major aspect of the blueprint would be revamping district education offices.

"Their scope is limited and their main work is to monitor schools, but we want them to start leading the schools in their districts."

He said this would include transforming them into a pyramid-type management so that they would not rely on top management so much.

Muhyiddin said a pilot programme was launched in two districts on revamping the district offices and the full implementation would be done in phases, and scheduled for completion in 2014.

He said the feedback on the blueprint was positive, but questions remained whether it could be fully implemented.

"I agree that education should not be left to politicians, but to achieve this, we need the political will to do so," he said, assuring that the blueprint was done by academic experts and he was the only minister responsible for it.

He said the ministry would be carrying out open-day programmes on the blueprint so that they could gather more feedback from the public and make improvements if needed. It will be carried out in six zones across the country starting Oct 6.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says another major aspect of the Malaysia Education Blueprint is revamping and empowering district education offices. Pic by Yazit Razali


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