The influx of 2,000 Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah (KPLI) teachers from West Malaysia into Sarawak is not only causing uneasiness to the people of Sarawak but it is also depriving thousands of local graduates of employment opportunities.
Under this KPLI scheme those graduating from ordinary degrees are compelled to attend a one-year diploma course before they can be recruited as teachers.
But why preference is only given to West Malaysians?
Chairman of Baleh branch of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Dr. James Masing, has expressed concern over this new development.
In a resolution passed during the branch AGM over the week-end in Kapit, Masing who is also the PRS president and Minister of Land Development called on the government to address the lack of employment opportunities for local graduates especially in the teaching profession.
“The people in Baleh are uneasy as the employment of teachers is mostly from outside Sarawak,” he was reported to have said. Of course Masing is worried as 313 of those teachers have been sent to 47 primary schools in Kapit division.
Not only parents in Kapit have felt uneasy and unhappy, but parents in other Divisions have also expressed similar sentiments. Their posting to Sarawak, as mentioned earlier will not only deprive our own graduates of employment opportunities, but will also affect the standard or the quality of education in the rural areas.
Educated mostly in the Malay medium, they do not in the first place choose the teaching profession and many of them in the past are known to have low determination and motivation.
Posting them to the interior areas of Sarawak especially in Kapit may not be a good idea, where rivers are the mainstay of communication, where accommodation may be a little bit better than chicken sheds, and where they may be cut off from the outside world.
As strangers, they are sure to suffer from cultural shocks. Worst if they are unmarried lady teachers. All these will add to their woes.And it will not be surprising if some of them are asking to be transferred back or leaving even before the year ends.
It has happened in the past and it is going to happen in the future. And if this is going to be the case, not only the government will waste millions of ringgit in training and transferring them, but the performances of the rural pupils will also be affected.
This is our main concern.But on the other hand, it is also a good thing if more qualified West Malaysian teachers come to teach in Sarawak so that they can learn the various cultures of the local people, see how the Dayaks, the Malays and Chinese live harmoniously and respect each others’ religions and see the people of Sarawak display the highest degree of tolerance towards each other.
At the same time our students will also benefit from qualified and experienced teachers.Moreover, when these teachers return to their respective towns and villages, they will tell their relatives and friends that Sarawak, the Land of the Hornbills, are not bad after all and that Dayaks do not live on tree tops. – The Broken Shield