PETALING JAYA: Schools nationwide are facing a shortage of 20,000 teachers, with urban and rural schools similarly affected, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said.
NUTP president Aminuddin Awang said not enough new teachers are coming in to replace retirees.
“Almost all schools are facing a shortage of teachers, including urban schools. It is no longer limited to rural areas. Whenever field visits are carried out, there are always complaints,” he said, as reported by Berita Harian.
Aminuddin said staff shortages made up most of the complaints the union received, based on findings from its 50 or so engagement programmes throughout the country this year.
He said there were schools that were experiencing a shortage of up to 10 teachers, causing the burden of the vacancy to be borne by other teachers.
Previously, the education ministry stated that most of the applications it received for early retirement over the past two years had come from Malay and English language teachers.
Education minister Fadhlina Sidek reportedly said 6,890 applications were also received from mathematics, Islamic education, science and history teachers.
The ministry said it had opened recruitment for education service officers (PPP) at Grade DG41 this year to try and address the issue.
Currently, there are about 418,000 teachers employed in 10,225 primary and secondary schools across the country.
Aminuddin said NUTP had brought up the matter with the education ministry during their meetings.
“We appreciate the effort, but more needs to be done because that number is still insufficient,” he said, urging the finance ministry to provide adequate funding.
He said the increased workload is one of the reasons why many teachers opt for early retirement, in addition to their difficulties adapting to new technology.
“We have observed this trend of early retirement for the past 10 years, with changes in the system and increased workloads.
“In the past, there were no social media facilities, but now teachers are receiving messages or queries from parents on social media platforms even at night,” he said.
Aminuddin said NUTP aims to regulate daily working hours through legislative provisions, because currently there is no regulation.
“This is why teachers are forced to work late into the night, and some even have to work on Saturdays, overwhelming them,” he said.