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Malaysia: Government demand for data hinders quality teaching

published 20 August 2013 updated 9 September 2013

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), one of EI’s national affiliates, has explained that the extra work of collecting and providing data to the Education Ministry and the new teaching system hinder quality teaching.

Too much paperwork for teachers

“Teachers are unable to provide quality education to students, and the fault clearly lies with the Education Ministry which appears to be swamping teachers with paperwork,” NUTP President Hashim Adnan said. “Teachers today are given more paperwork because ministry officials are interested in obtaining data.”

Teachers are required to do data entry by keying in individual marks which is not only time consuming but stressful for them too, he explained.

“This is an ongoing exercise and teachers do it until 3am-4am to meet a deadline,” Adnan said. “Any delay by an individual teacher would affect the entire group of teachers, as students’ cumulative grades cannot then be obtained.”

He criticised the system as a “bad system that promotes plagiarism” among teachers, i.e. teachers copying marks awarded to students from other teachers.

Teachers are also required to teach and finish the syllabus without the benefit of having replacement teachers, he complained. Under a system called Melindungi Masa Instructional(MMI) that began in April 2013, a teacher is required to complete the yearly syllabus without having the benefit of a replacement teacher.

“Who is going to teach students if teachers are required to attend meetings and sports?” asked Adnan. “Under MMI, teachers have to rush to complete teaching their syllabus. This system hinders teachers from nurturing young minds. Without the MMI, teachers have promoted quality education, and this can be seen from the number of students who went on to further their tertiary education abroad.

“If you want us to provide quality education, leave the teaching to teachers and do not burden us with other things,” he emphasised. “A teacher’s duty is to teach, not to do data entry.”

Education Ministry must be receptive to feedback

He further condemned the fact that the Education Ministry is reluctant to obtain feedback from the union.

“The ministry officials must be bold and open-hearted in accepting our input,” Adnan stressed. “Only then can they develop a system that works. We can tell them what works and what doesn’t.”

He added that while NUTP is willing to work with the Education Ministry to enhance the quality of education in schools, the Ministry still has to be receptive to the education union’s suggestions.

If the Ministry decides not to consider NUTP’s feedback, there is nothing it can do, he regretted.

EI: Government must listen to unions

“Public authorities are fully responsible for providing free public quality education and ensuring all citizens have access to it,” EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said. “We urge the Malaysian Government to engage in faithful negotiations with organisations representing educators and carefully listen to their recommendations to improve the quality of education in the country.”