Source: The Star (View expressed here is solely the opinion of the source)
KUCHING: Many teachers serving in Sarawak are requesting to be transferred out and this is weakening the state’s education sector.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong revealed that 1,087 teachers had applied to be transferred out of the state at the end of semester one in June.
“At the same time, there are just 54 teachers who applied to be transferred back to Sarawak,” Wee told reporters yesterday.
Teachers can start applying for transfer about two to three months before the semester is out. This year, the ministry began accepting transfer applications on April 1. The deadline is at the end of the month.
“There are 18 more days to go, and we’ve already received so many wanting to be transferred out. There really is a great imbalance between the influx and outflow of teachers in Sarawak,” Wee said.
An Education Department official who declined to be named told reporters that most applications for transfers would likely be rejected.
“Or else education in Sarawak would collapse,” she said.
Most applications for transfer were from those who were posted to Sarawak’s rural areas, said the official.
Wee called a press conference after he and department officials met with some 20 representatives of Chinese education bodies, including Sarawak United Association of Chinese Primary Aided School Boards of Management president Liu Thian Leong.
Wee said an average of about 500 Chinese school teachers applied to be transferred out of Sarawak every year.
“I’ll be really frank here. We could resolve so many issues if teachers didn’t ask to be transferred out so soon,” Wee said.
“We could take a very hard stance and say that once transferred, you’re compelled to teach where you’ve been posted, but we are not like that. Right now, we are trying out best. On the reported lack of teachers at Chinese primary schools, we have posted 143 more temporary teachers to fill the gap.”
Wee said that, for now, there was no obvious lack of teachers in Sarawak.
“But I’ve to be careful here. I can’t guarantee. Aside from those who want to be transferred, how about those who want early retirement? Then there would be shortages again.”