Many top academicians, education activists, parents and even students themselves have urged the Malaysian government to reform its education system. The state of the country’s education system is alarming, as reported by The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012. According to the report, Malaysia was ranked at 52nd spot, out of the 65 countries examined.
For a thriving, developing country in the Southeast Asia region, that number is a shocking blow, yet somewhat expected. One of the main reasons to this is that Malaysia is in urgent need of more teachers who are highly qualified and better equipped to handle the nation’s educational challenges. Unfortunately, the high demands remain to be met. These are the top four reasons why the country needs better teachers now more than ever:
- Low English language proficiency among students and young professionals This is one of the biggest issues in the country’s education system that still goes unresolved until this day. According to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), the declining English standard among young professionals is prevalent in all industries. MEF also reported that employers, whether in the private or public sectors, struggle to hire top candidates who are highly proficient in English and can communicate effectively. This could hamper the country’s economic development in its bid to become a global player. Additionally, about 37% of Malaysian English teachers achieve the perfect level of proficiency, based on a study by the Cambridge Language Assessment. However, the numbers are considered quite low and are not enough for the country to produce more students who can communicate effectively in the global language. In short, more highly proficient Malaysian English teachers are needed.
- Learners with special needs are often neglected at mainstream schools Learners with special needs are often neglected in mainstream schools and have a tougher time coping in the real world due to the lack of good and experienced teachers in the mainstream education. Some mainstream schools have special needs learners, but not enough teachers who are qualified to meet their needs. The government is currently providing mainstream teachers with skills and special training that would help them identify the students’ needs.
- Many students still lack critical skills, like problem solving It’s no secret that the education system in Malaysia heavily relies on the basis of spoon-feeding the students, often from the primary right until the tertiary level. As a teacher, you can still teach your students the necessary skills to cope in the real world during extra-curricular activities, which is the only learning period where you don’t have to 100% follow the syllabus.
- The negative mentality about students in the arts stream It’s unfortunate that many people still hold the belief that the arts stream is the pathway for students who aren’t smart enough. What’s worse is that many teachers also promote this kind of mentality, by discouraging their students from entering the arts stream. This has led to many students feeling useless, which is a waste of their talent. It’s high time that we do something to change this, as not every student is meant to be in the science stream. You can play your part as a teacher by identifying talented students who would do well in the arts stream.
The 2012 PISA report served as a wake up call to many. If you’re interested in changing the sad state of the country’s education system, now is the best time to pursue a teaching career. You can apply for an education course in Malaysia and help transform the country’s education system. We may have a long way to go, but it’s never too late to start. In order to be a global player, Malaysia will need all the help it can get from her people, including the teachers.