08 May 2007

Promotion, pay rise for school heads

PUTRAJAYA: The 7,000 primary school heads nationwide will stand a chance to be promoted and enjoy a pay rise under a new scheme without needing to leave their current schools.

This move, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, would ensure that good school heads remained in their schools and continued to administer and improve them.

“Although this new scheme has only been approved in principle, its implementation is being finalised,” he said after meeting representatives of the 24 bodies representing the teaching profession in his office here yesterday.

Hishammuddin said the exact number that would benefit from the scheme had yet to be established, but it would see many school heads recognised for their contributions and tireless efforts.

The minister also announced a location and hardship allowance, ranging from RM500 to RM1,500 for teachers serving in rural areas and the interior.

“The allowance will be classified under three categories, taking into account the mode of transport, travel risks, water and electricity resources, accommodation, sanitation, telecommunication, health services and other facilities,” he said.

According to the ministry’s statistics, 15,499 teachers and 3,797 support staff will benefit from the new allowance, to be paid from May 1 and expected to cost the Government more than RM187mil annually.

The allowance is an extension of the rural incentive payment, implemented in 1991, which is about 10% of the basic salary.

In a case where both husband and wife are serving in rural areas, only one will receive the new allowance while the other will continue to receive the incentive payment.

Hishammuddin said the ministry would also introduce the balik kampung allowance to rural teachers and support staff from this month.

“This means they will receive allowances once a year to cover travel and accommodation expenses when they return to their hometown,” he said.

Only those who have served more than six months in the rural areas are eligible for this allowance, expected to benefit close to 100,000 teachers and support staff.

Later, Hishammuddin said the ministry wanted a report from the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) on what was hindering teachers from sitting for the Assessment of Efficiency Level (PTK) test for promotions.

The ministry, he said, would then decide on what action to be taken.

“If we can solve it at the ministry level then we don’t have to refer it to the Public Service Department,” he said after launching the Campaign 4 Rewards 2007 contest at Pizza Hut in Kota Damansara.

He was commenting on a report in Malay daily yesterday which quoted NUTP president Anuar Ibrahim as saying that 70,000 non-graduate teachers who had served at least 20 years did not want to sit for the PTK as they were not confident of passing it.

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