30 May 2007

Teachers to spend more time teaching


KUALA LUMPUR: The amount of time teachers, especially those from urban schools, will be spending attending training courses outside the classroom will be drastically reduced.

Under a plan being drawn up by the Education Ministry, only teachers who truly require in-service training will be sent for courses.

This could result in more rural teachers being picked over their better-trained urban counterparts.

And, with the soon-to-be-introduced Malaysian Teaching Standard (MTS), there will be fewer new teachers who are not fully qualified or do not meet certain standards.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday there was a requirement for teachers to attend at least seven days of in-service training a year to upgrade themselves but in the implementation, there was a disparity between urban and rural schools in the remote areas. "Urban teachers tend to have more opportunities for in-service training than their counterparts in remote areas.

"In fact, there are teachers who have more than 10 years’ experience who have not attended any substantive in-service courses," he said after launching the International Seminar on Teacher Education at the Palace of the Golden Horses.

Hishammuddin said the MTS, which was in its final stage of preparation, would be a comprehensive guide to quality education.

It will be an instrument to measure quality, which will be used by all institutions offering teacher training programmes.

It will determine whether programmes used by local or foreign institutions fulfil the criteria for producing teachers for the national education system.

"We have to benchmark our efforts based on certain standards or it will be difficult to say if we have been successful.

"To reach our targets on soft development and the intangibles in the National Education Blueprint, it is important that we establish standards that are not only benchmarked against standards in Malaysia but also those recognised internationally," he said.

At present, there are no standardised guidelines for new teachers.

For example, SPM holders who went to Indonesia or Brunei for their teaching diplomas or education degrees can become teachers.

At the event yesterday, the ministry’s teacher education division and teacher education institutes signed co-operative agreements with 10 foreign universities and 12 local institutions of higher learning.

These include collaboration with the University Franche-Comte in France to bring in students to specialise in teaching French as a foreign language.

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