MALAYSIA EDUCATION BLUEPRINT: Test teachers chosen to attend courses
THE draft Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 has been unveiled. A total of 11 shifts or areas of reform are outlined to produce students with six key attributes over the next 13 years in three phases, or "waves".
Rightly, teachers have been identified as the key role players, the catalysts and the motivators to bring about the visionary school outcomes. Shift 4 in the Blueprint specifically calls for quality teachers.
New teacher recruits, from next year, will be from the top 30 per cent of graduates. There will be continuing professional development (CPD) and peer-led culture of excellence and certification.
Accordingly, it is to be anticipated that teachers' continual training and retraining will become the main feature of the teacher-quality upgrading efforts.
And, it is not difficult to deduce here that in the first phase of the Blueprint years, training and retraining courses will be chiefly directed at existing teachers who need help.
But, haven't we been conducting courses, many in fact in recent years, for teachers?
Why then are there still problems of teachers who are deemed lacking in quality?
They had been attending courses in all and sundry: subject matters, curricula, pedagogy, information technology, language proficiency, skills, sports, leadership, management and others. The reality on the ground, however, seems to point to the fact that "teachers had not improved much".
We continue to be plagued by poor-quality teachers and bad classroom practices. So, what is missing in our present system?
Firstly, the teachers who attend the courses are not necessarily the target groups identified in the ministry's needs studies.
Secondly, some teachers who are "directed" to attend these courses have a lukewarm attitude to them. They do not do any significant, voluntary pre-course preparation.
They are present at the course venue and may just sit through all the sessions with little meaningful contribution.
Thirdly, few courses include tests to assess and ascertain participants' achievement of the competencies expected as outcomes of the course.
It is imperative that there be: 1) meticulous and stringent selection of teachers for courses, 2) positive and correct attitudes and approach towards courses held and attended, and 3) compulsory end-of-course evaluation tests.
These are crucial to ensure that the proposed teachers' CPD achieves the success it desires.
Liong Kam Chong, Seremban, Negri Sembilan