IT is interesting to note that the Education Ministry together with National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) are seriously sitting down to resolve the problems concerning the workload of school teachers.
It is indeed true that teachers are bogged down with loads and loads of paper work which hamper teaching. Many will argue that we have ample time but the truth is that we are given ridiculous deadlines. There are times when the deadlines would have expired before we even get the circulars asking us to complete the data.
But this problem is not something new. There are already teachers in charge of data (guru data) in almost all schools and they should be fully utilised.
These so-called data teachers hardly have any teaching periods. Even if they have, they insist on teaching only eight periods a week. They are all the time on their computers doing next to nothing. Basically, they have nothing much to do except transferring data provided by the teachers and they do not do it all-year long.
I suggest that the ministry relieves teacher of unnecessary paperwork. Let them do what they do best – teach. We do not mind the co-curricular activities which are part and parcel of our duty.
What we do not want is the pressure from higher-ups to furnish them with unwanted documents which will eventually gather dust.
Believe me, throughout my 28 years of teaching, I have come across scores of blue-prints being produced but I can hardly think of any which have been successfully implemented. Even the PPSMI has become a controversy!
Other than the workload, the special committee should also look into the Annual Appraisal System (SKT – Sasaran Kerja Tahunan ). Under this system, teachers will be assessed annually by filling up forms and identifying the objectives and targets for the year ahead.
Ironically, we are only asked to fill up the forms in October every year. And to make us feel like fools, we are directed to back-date our signature to January of that particular year!
Teachers are never informed of the marks or grades they have obtained as we are told that the marks are secret even though it is clearly stated in the form that the teachers should be informed of the assessment marks before the principal or headmaster sends them to the department.
Nobody dares question this discrepancy for fear of being reprimanded or black-listed.
Lately, there has been talk about encompassing the 1Student 1Sports policy which I believe is a far-fetched idea. You cannot expect all students to be interested or active in sports.
Enthusiasm and interest in sports come from within and with encouragement from teachers, principals and also the parents. But, alas, our parents are more interested in ensuring straight As from their children and over-zealous heads of department over-emphasise on academic excellence rather than having a balance of both curriculum and co-curriculum.
Qualified sports teachers should be given the task of moulding the talents of pupils.
Nowadays, any Tom, Dick and Harry is appointed to various types of sports and uniformed bodies. Many of these teachers are not knowledgeable and thus lack an interest in promoting sports. They just come, supervise and go back home when the time is up.JAYARAJ KGS,