17 November 2007

Teachers in rural areas staying


PUTRAJAYA: The number of teachers asking for transfer to towns and urban areas has dropped significantly, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Better housing for teachers and facilities in schools are among the reasons why more teachers have decided to stay put in rural areas.

"I don't have the statistics but the ministry and state education directors have been getting fewer love letters these days.

"This goes to show that our strategies in providing better housing and incentives for teachers serving in villages and other remote areas, including those in Sabah and Sarawak, have started to show results."

He was speaking to reporters after a ceremony to mark Malaysia's election to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) executive board recently.
The 58-member board is the second highest ranking body in Unesco. It is tasked with ensuring the implementation of the organisation's programmes and allocating the corresponding budget estimates.

He said the government was committed in bridging the gap between rural and urban schools.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had recently announced an additional RM2.6 billion for rural education programme.

"The prime minister, who chaired the National Implementation Task Force meeting yesterday, will monitor the utilisation of the additional funds.

"He would want to know the details of our progress in bringing the education system to a higher dimension and we will be updating him on it.

"With over 10,000 schools, 320,000 teachers and more than five million students, it is only right that we work extra hard to ensure the success of our five-year national education master plan."

He said a national convention to gather ideas and inputs on the plan would be held on Dec 3.

He also said that Kuala Lumpur would be hosting the Asean Education Ministers' meeting in March.

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