"Competition to get into training colleges is stiff. There are so many applications but not everyone can get in. Some try six times and still don’t get accepted. Those who do should be willing to be sent to schools which need them, even if they are far away.
"I’ve told (Sabah education director) Normah (Gagoh) that those who want transfers should be sent to a rural area in another state, if they don’t want to go where we ask them to go. Our children will be sidelined without an education," he said when addressing gra-duates from four teachers training colleges at their joint convocation at a hotel here yesterday.
A total of 540 teachers graduated from the Kent (Tuaran), Keningau, Tawau and Gaya (Kota Kinabalu) training colleges.
Later, Hishammuddin, when asked if the situation of teachers not willing to be posted to rural areas was serious, said better infrastructure and benefits, such as allowances, had led to an improvement in the situation.
"In the past, we did not recognise limitations teachers faced in rural areas but today, there are incentives for them.
"It is not a major problem (seeking transfers). If some teachers don’t want to be posted to another state, for instance, we need to find out why. If it is because of financial reasons, such as a low allowance, then it will be difficult for us to compete in a borderless world.
"If we don’t want to move to another state, how do we compete with China, New Zealand and other countries?"
Hishammuddin, who said some graduates who received their scrolls yesterday had been posted to Peninsular Malaysia, also asked each graduate how life was like at his new posting.
"I spoke to each of them as they came to get their scrolls. I want to know first-hand the types of problems they faced. In the three hours I spent doing that, I found out about projectors that could not run because there was no power supply and which schools relied on generator sets."
On his ministry’s plan to make sure schools in the country received electricity and water supply by the end of this year, he said: "Water supply is on schedule but we have hit a snag with providing electricity due to the rising cost of diesel.
"We are looking at installing solar hybrid panels as an alternative. We are targeting to solve the issue by March."