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[SINTUJAS SATHIA KUMAR]

The role and duties of a teacher is a catalyst for national development because teachers can
shape future generations. Implementation of the Malaysian Education Development Plan 20132025 (PPPM) is a challenge to teachers in ensuring the transformation of national education is
realised,
(Deputy Prime Minister of Human Resources, Datuk Seri Ismali Abd Mutalib, 2014)

In recent years, the Malaysian education system has come under increased public
debate, as parents expectations rise and employers voice their concern regarding the systems
ability to adequately prepare young Malaysians for the challenges of the 21 st century. Hence,
this is where the teachers play their role as agents of change in our education. Many
researchers have addressed the issue of teachers as change agents. According to Fullan,
(2011) change is in essence, learning to do something differently, involving adjustments to
many elements of classroom practice and everybody is a change agent in quality education. It
reflects the change in teachers role towards the new directions in Malaysian curriculum as
outlined in Master Plan of Development Blueprint (2013-2025). Role of teachers as agents of
change are vital for successful transformation of the Malaysian school curriculum in meeting the
five aspirations outlined in PPPM. Among the six aspirations are; quality, equity, access, unity
and efficiency.
What can a teacher do as agent of change? Globalization in education has placed
impacts on educators. Globalization placed an urge in our education system to produce
knowledgeable and competent citizens to meet the global platform. Ministry of Education has
established many ICT programs and facilities in schools for us to swim along with the
emergence of ICT and new technologies in teaching fields. Under Smart School Project many
improvements was done like providing the schools with computer Lab, Self-Access Learning
Room, and 1BestariNet (PPPM,2013-2025). It displayed efforts of the Ministry in globalizing our
mean of disseminating knowledge. Hence, teachers should continuously improve creativity and
innovation in carrying out their duties and always ready to upgrade their knowledge. The school
culture that encourages creativity and innovation would have positive impact on the students
and expand their potential in line with the national education module. In school, there are also
instructional materials being used that is new to teachers and pupils, best example is the use of
interactive white board in teaching. Number of teachers integrating such facilities in their
teaching process is still questionable. Since teachers undergo trainings on how to use it, they

[SINTUJAS SATHIA KUMAR]


are then responsible in transmitting the idea to the learners. Teachers should incorporate the
use of ICT in their teaching and learning process. When it comes to use of ICT in classroom,
most Malaysian teachers tend to seek the use of projectors and Power Point only. Teachers
should foster use of ICT to develop students creativity, problem solving and students critical
thinking skills. In ministry provided e-books (2000). Teachers can actually utilize this as a
teaching material for a student centered learning. Chitravelu,(2005) quoted Vygotsky( 1980) in
her book ELT Methodology Principles and Practice stated that students learn better by doing
things themselves. Tasks can be given in the e-book itself with existing educational software for
the students to complete their work at home. By this students will get the first hand experience
to use the device and complete their task by looking for information through internet. Students
will be more responsible and independent towards their learning. A study conducted by the
Ministry in 2010 found that ICT usage was relatively limited. Approximately 80% of teachers
spend less than one hour a week using ICT. Only a third of students perceive their teachers to
be using ICT regularly. Further, the UNESCO review noted that even when ICT is used in
teaching, in most cases it has not gone much beyond the use of PowerPoint as an instructional
tool.
How does our education system compare against other countries? Is what we consider
good actually good enough? (YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin ,2011). This reflects to the quality
of our education. In fact, as we have seen in newspaper reports every year, the passing rate
and percentage of students scoring grade A in national examinations have been rising over
the years, thus painting an encouraging picture of the education development in our country.
However, in international assessments, our students had performed poorly. Take PISA
(Programme for International Student Assessment) 2009+ assessment as an example: of the 74
countries which took part, Malaysias performance was in the bottom third.(Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development,2012) Producing quality teachers serves is important
for such scenario. Ministry of Higher Education has raised the entry standards for Teachers
Trainning College. Trainee teachers are cultivated with adequate training in pioneered courses
as well as high moral standard as they will be the next generation of teachers. Starting from
year 2007, all the teachers will be holding a degree instead of a diploma. (Ministry of Education)
Besides that, teachers should be evolving and up to date. Teachers are encouraged to attend
courses and workshop to expand their knowledge and acquire skills to weave in innovative
teaching techniques and methods in order to improve their teaching practices. The current
establishment of School Based Assessment (SBA) in the education curriculum placed huge

[SINTUJAS SATHIA KUMAR]


importance in assessment of the pupils achievement in their education. School Based
Assessment (SBA) is believed to nurture higher order thinking skills. Besides that, it enforces
student centered learning approach and encourages independent learning among the students.
Based on the reading done from various sources, it shows worrying trends of Malaysian
teachers facing problems in implementing the new policy. In my point of view, I feel that all the
teachers including trainee teachers should be provided with training of assessments skills. This
will develop more efficient and clearer SBA measures, to avoid unnecessary paperwork which
overload the schools administrative and the teachers. In my humble opinion, it is quite tough to
conduct this School Based Assessment in our Malaysian schools as our standard classroom
consists from 30 to 40 students. Suggestions proposed by a research team in Reforming
National Education (2013), will be useful. One of it would be to reduce the classroom size. The
classroom size should be controlled below 25 for the teachers carry out the assessment
effectively hence increasing the validity and reliability of the assessment.
The English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP) is a good example of
efforts taken by the Ministry of Education in developing the quality of education. Such efforts
brought so much differences and knowledge transmission to our teachers. ELTDP Project is a
part of the Malaysian governments efforts to enhance the primary English teachers skills,
particularly in the context of a new English curriculum (KSSR) which stresses communicative
approaches and emphasizes fun and frolic learning activities. This projects helps the teachers to
explore and reflect on their own professional practice and develop new approaches and
innovative teaching techniques to be used in the classroom. Teachers need not to attend
courses outside the schools instead the British Council mentors visit schools to find out about
the context and local needs. With the guidance from the mentors the teachers will be able to
solve out their problems in teaching and learning practice. In this way the project aims to
support Malaysian teachers to develop their own reflective practice for their professional
development.
Teacher also plays active role to gap multicultural differences among the students.
Malaysia is well known for its cultural diversity and it falls on teachers shoulder to ensure unity
among students from different cultural background. Teachers should weave in moral values like
teamwork, tolerance and unity in the daily lessons. Students of different background can be put
into one group for group tasks to allow them to communicate and work hand in hand. It is

[SINTUJAS SATHIA KUMAR]


important for the teachers to role model such attitudes first. RIMUP and Vision Schools are
among the efforts taken by the Ministry to foster unity at the school level.
Teachers should know that they are entering a profession with a big mandate and moral
responsibility and the way to fulfill that mandate is by working together with other teachers and
stakeholders. Looking to the future, the only way to ensure that the Malaysian education is
successful is to integrate a spirit of innovation and creativity among the teachers and the system
itself. This paradigm shift must occur at every level of the stakeholders. It is only through this
collective effort and transformation, the entire transformation of Malaysian education system will
be able to tackle the challenges of 21st century and globalization in education.

[SINTUJAS SATHIA KUMAR]

References
Article
Newspaper
Teachers Should Become Agent of Change.( 2014, June 24). The Malaysian Times Sdn .Bhd
Other references
Chitravellu,N (2005). ELT Methodolgy of Principles and Practice (2nd ed). Selangor. Oxford Fajar
Sdn.Bhd
Fullan,M.(2011). The new meaning of educational change. (4th ed.). New York:TeachersCollege
Press
Hugh John Leong.( 2013,September 18). The Malaysia Education Blueprint : Balancing Policy
and Practice.Borneo Post Online. Retrieved from http://www.theborneopost.com
Ministry of Education.( 2013). Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2015). Retrieved from
http://www.moe.gov.my
Organization For Economic Co-operation and Development.( 2012). Statistics of Programme for
International Student Assessment (PISA). Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/pisa/
Wong Chip Choo & Lee Yeng Ting (2013). Reforming National Education. Analyses and
Recommendations on Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025) .1-96
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.(2014). ICT in Teachers
Education 2010. Retrieved from unesdoc.unesco.org