KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — Malaysian Institute of Economic Research Chief Operating Officer Zarina Nalla today called for a substantial investment in the teaching profession, emphasising that this is crucial for the improvement of the nation’s education system.
She said that prioritising teachers and making teaching an attractive career choice are fundamental steps toward securing a brighter future for Malaysia’s youth.
“If we want our children to receive better education, the government should invest in teachers, making teaching a career which is attractive. If the industry fails us, we still have our teachers.
“We are responsible for 30,000 students who were unable to sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) because the teachers didn’t have the resources and lacked technical skills. What sorts of damage did that do to the young ones?” she asked during the 2023 Youth Economic Forum at Bank Negara.
In June, the Education Ministry said that nearly 30,000 candidates who were registered did not sit for the SPM examination last year including private candidates who were registered to take only one or two subjects.
Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying said the number according to the ministry’s record is actually 29,663 out of a total of 407,637 registered candidates.
Zarina underscored the urgent need for comprehensive support and training for educators.
Reflecting on the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, she highlighted the initial struggle of educators to adapt to online teaching during the movement control order period in 2020.
She stressed the importance of equipping teachers with the necessary skills and resources to effectively navigate the digital landscape.
She firmly rejected the notion that Malaysia should lag behind in the realm of online education.
“I don’t want to hear we are not ahead of the curve, and we have no choice when it comes to online education.
“Teachers need to be paid well, trained well, they want to be teachers, don’t make them administrative,” she said.
She also urged against burdening them with administrative duties, emphasising that their primary focus should be on delivering quality education.
* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.