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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Have a fair evaluation for all schools

I AGREE with the president of Sarawak Teachers’ Union on the selection of 20 high performing schools. It was not only an insult to teachers from Sabah and Sarawak but also some of their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia when none of their schools was selected.

Definitely, this will demoralise the hardworking teachers who are from small and rural schools.

The Education Ministry, in my opinion, failed to understand that schools in Malaysia are not in level playing field and thus the same selection criterion is not valid and unreliable.

How do you expect schools without basic facilities in certain areas to compete with the more established schools? How could you equate the performance of boarding schools with the day school? It is something like comparing an apple with an orange.

There is a big disparity between these schools and it is disheartening to learn that this announcement is doing more harm than good to schools and teachers.

Moreover, I feel that students’ achievement does not depend only on the schools or teachers’ commitment.

The parents’ role, tuition teachers’ commitment and students’ aptitude level as well as the environment are some of the contributing factors towards students’ achievement.

The reward of RM1mil to these high performance schools is again unfair.

Why can’t the ministry utilise the RM20mil to improve the conditions of schools in Sabah and Sarawak.

As a former teacher who have taught in Sarawak, I have experience teaching in schools that do not have the basic infrastructure like electricity and water, not to mention the dilapidated conditions of some of these schools.

Next, is it fair for bright students from a non-high performing schools to be deprived of finishing schooling earlier as compared to the students from high performing schools?

Why the double standard? Some bright students from rural schools would be crying foul about this system.

Another issue is the payment of overtime. As a diligent and committed teacher, I used to spend three to four hours daily in school training my football boys and also taking them to sports meet and other outdoor activities but I was not given overtime or any performance incentives.

Ironically, the teachers from the high performance school are set to enjoy overtime payment while their hardworking counterparts in the normal school will be at the losing end. Is it fair?

I also disagree with the idea of giving school headmasters and principals the autonomy to select the students and also teachers.

This may pave way for more abuse by certain quarters.

Let us strive to have same playing field for all the schools in Malaysia. Then do the necessary evaluation to award the so-called “high performing schools”.

Till then, it is good for the ministry to scrap the idea or come up with a fair evaluation and also select one HPS (high performing school) each in every state as this school would be a place of reference and also role model for other schools in the state.

George Town.

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