GEORGE TOWN: The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) has hit out at a proposal by a Johor PKR leader for a committee to look into anti-government sentiments among teachers, calling it “nonsensical” and “ridiculous”.
NUTP president Aminudin Awang also said there was no need to make an issue of teachers’ alleged non-support for the government as they are duty-bound to support the government of the day.
“What is important is that the government continues to prove its seriousness in solving a multitude of issues that are plaguing the teaching profession, to ensure that the teachers are content in carrying out their duties in school,” Aminudin told FMT.
“Teachers and schools are already burdened with tasks that are irrelevant to (their job), so do not add (to their burden) with the implementation of this nonsensical (committee) idea.”
At the PKR congress last Sunday, Johor delegate Haryati Abu Nasir claimed there was a “worrying trend” of teachers not supporting the unity government. She urged the education ministry to set up a committee to look into the matter.
Met by reporters latet, Haryati said the committee should aim to monitor and identify the reasons for the teachers’ opposition to the government.
She also said the trend should be immediately addressed before it affects the government.
‘Big Brother’ committee would look authoritarian
Political analyst Azmil Tayeb said Haryati’s “Big Brother” approach would not be a productive use of government resources as the education ministry should focus on the quality of teaching.
Azmil, of Universiti Sains Malaysia, also said setting up such a committee would look bad on the government as it could be seen as an authoritarian tactic deployed to keep an eye on critics.
“The committee would have the power to decide what views are ‘anti-government’. It could open up opportunities for abuse of power and selective persecution,” he told FMT.
Azmil said even if the government found a tiny percentage of teachers harbouring anti-government or pro-Perikatan Nasional views, it would not merit the establishment of a monitoring committee.
Instead, he suggested that the government warn “wayward teachers” against mixing politics and education, and to stick to the curriculum.
He also suggested that students be encouraged to report on teachers who talk about their political views in the classroom.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chair Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said establishing a committee like the one proposed by Haryati could encourage a witch-hunt which would demotivate teachers, impacting their productivity and commitment.
She also said the education ministry should focus on supporting teachers to develop their potential through improved pedagogical practices that will result in better student outcomes.
Noor Azimah told FMT anti-establishment teachers were not a serious enough issue to warrant the government’s attention.
“When the government does the right thing and leads the right way, everyone will be happy to follow the leader(s),” she said.
“(Plus), teachers have key performance indicators (KPIs) that they must achieve. Hence, they need all the support to achieve their KPIs.
“Teachers are professionals and politicians should steer clear. Dedicated teachers want to see their students succeed.”