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BORANG PENILAIAN PRESTASI - A CURSE TO THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN

MALAYSIA

There was a very interesting article in The Star yesterday entitled "Good teachers bypassed"
written by OLIONG KAM CHONG of Seremban. Needless to say, there is truth in every word
that he has written. Tonight I would like to share this article with my readers. Here it goes:

This is the time of the year when teachers are being assessed by their principals and senior
assistants on their performance for the year. The assessment will determine their next
remuneration adjustment. To some extent, the assessment will also affect the future aspirations
and attitudes of these teachers. The good news is that we have competent, committed, reliable
and responsible teachers in our schools. The worrying trend is their numbers are fast dwindling.
Many have devoted a great number of their good years to the service, but they now feel
unappreciated, insecure and disillusioned. This has tempted many to slow down, do the
minimum, work to rule, opt out and even throw in the towel.

What is causing this? What needs to be done to arrest the decline and ensure that our schools
can continue to have effective and efficient teachers? In our primary and secondary schools, the
headmaster or principal and first senior assistant (SA1) are the two chief evaluators of their
teachers' annual performances. They hold the key to the promotions, rewards or awards that
their teachers can subsequently apply for or attain.

A school head and his SA1 should evaluate their staff objectively, justly and fairly, and award or
reward them accordingly. Many heads and their SA1s are doing just that. They should be
praised, for they uphold righteousness. But, stories and complaints by teachers are aplenty,
more often than not confirming practices of bias, prejudice, favouritism and even cronyism by
some school heads and their SA1s. As a result of these unethical and unprofessional acts, well-
performing teachers are being bypassed, under-performing teachers are getting the "carrots"
while non-performing teachers are getting off easy. And we have a bunch of favoured teachers
and cronies scampering around the head and his SA1, ever so willing to pick up whatever "odd
jobs" or errands are thrown at them.

Schools are supposed to advocate, teach, model and inculcate good values and practices. If the
rot starts from schools with school heads and their SA1s practising bias, prejudice, favouritism
and cronyism, one can imagine the cancerous and disastrous effects this can have on all strata
of our society and all levels of our organisations, now and in the future. It is sinful for school
heads and senior assistants to consciously overlook and suppress the appreciation and
approval of genuinely good workers just so their favoured ones and those subservient to their
own agenda can get the rewards instead.

Edelweiss56 (google "Severely Bullied Teacher" and you'll know who she is) called me
yesterday and told me about the above article. I quickly bought The Star and the first thing I
looked for in the newspaper was this article of truth which is written by someone who is probably
in the same boat as me. After reading this article, I find that I have something to add to it and
that's why I am writing this blog article tonight.

Bias, prejudice, favouritism and cronyism are rampant in the schools nowadays. These cannot
be avoided as the principals and their SA1s are "very human" by nature and as we all know, in
every organisation, the favoured ones are those who "triumph" in the end. How then can the
teachers become the "favoured ones"? The answer is simple - byscampering around the head
and his SA1, ever so willing to pick up whatever "odd jobs" or errands thrown at them. This
would of course include 1) spying on the less favoured teachers and then make a report to the
principal after adding "sauce and spice" and 2) back-stabbing each other to compete for the
affection of the principal and her SA1 - what is known as the art of survival. Thus the schools
are no longer a pleasant environment to work in. If the principals and teachers were so rotten,
how can the schools inculcate good values and practices in our students? That's why I say that
the students shouldn't emulate their teachers or principals! They shouldn't follow the bad
examples of our educators. What are we celebrating on Teachers' Day? Favouritism?
Cronyism? Spyism? Back-stabbingism? Why not have Hawkers' Day or Scavengers' Day
instead? I think they are more honourable than many of our teachers. At least they are making
an honest living and do not spy on each other or back stab each other.

When the well-performing teachers are being bypassed, and under-performing teachers are
getting the "carrots" this would mean that many of our principals, guru cemerlangs, SA1s and
college lecturers are of low quality because their positions are not attained by genuine hard
work but rather through the art of scampering around the head and his SA1. Once there was a
teacher who boasted to me that she is a guru cemerlang. I wasn't proud of her when I heard
that. I was wondering if she were one of those fantastic spies and back-stabbers. Out of
curiousity I asked those who know her what her character is like. And lo and behold! My surmise
was very accurate.

Another funny thing is - those teachers who are awarded scholarships to go for further studies
because they have been given very high marks for their Prestasi would go around asking
people to write their thesis for them. Even Edelweiss56 has been chosen by our scholarship
candidate recently to write her thesis for her! Why? Because Edelweiss56 is a veteran English
teacher who speaks good English. It seems that our scholarship candidate here can't afford to
write good English and therefore needs to seek the help of Edelweiss56. However, Edelweiss56
is too busy to help. In actual fact, many tuition centres also need her service because they know
that she is a good English teacher. And of course there were scholarship candidates who
approached me and asked me to write their thesis for them because they know that I like
writing! (I don't mind doing it if the pay is good and if I have the time. Right now, I don't have the
time.). This clearly explains why we have English lecturers who don't seem to know much and
who speak broken English! Maybe the Malaysian Government shouldn't award anymore
scholarships. It's a waste of money and very unfair to those teachers without scholarships who
can write their own thesis but are being tortured mentally and emotionally by the principals who
do not want them to go for further studies. (Google "Oppression in a Secondary School in Kuala
Lumpur" to find out what I went through)

What needs to be done to arrest the decline and ensure that our schools can continue to have
effective and efficient teachers? It seems that nothing can be done as long as the teachers are
forced to sign the blank prestasi forms and then forced to accept whatever marks and
comments that the principals and SA1s give them. They won't even get to see the marks and
comments. This may sound extremely uncivilized but this is actually what is happening in our
Malaysian schools. The secrecy surrounding the giving of marks for the rekod penilaian prestasi
is a shameful thing to happen in a country which practises democracy like Malaysia.

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