The Education sector has been hit by a new crisis with teachers vacating their posts without notice and traveling overseas for employment. As a result, a full-scale transfer programme due to come into effect in March has run into issues. Under the plan initially, 30,000 teachers were due to be transferred in a bid to ensure the smooth distribution of teachers across the country. The applications from 30,000 teachers had already been received by the time the crisis began. The Education Ministry later revised the figure to 25,000 as a high number of teachers had retired in line with the new government decided to reduce the retirement age to 60 years.
However, as plans were underway to implement the scheme it has been revealed that there were a large number of teachers, particularly in the GCE A/L, classes who left their posts without informing authorities. A senior Education Ministry official said that now the number that could be transferred would be around 10,000. He said all requested transfers cannot be approved as a sufficient number of replacements were not available. Initial confirmation was received that 1,500 teachers (including those from National schools) have left the country, but the figure is reported to be much higher.
He said there were requests from schools with A/L classes to send replacements, but there were no replacements to be sent. “The most number of teachers who have left are those who have been teaching English, Maths, Science, and Accounts. It is difficult to find replacements for them,” the official added. He explained that the Ministry does not grant approval for teachers of certain subjects to leave the country, and therefore most of the teachers who have left without notice are teachers of those subjects. The Ministry plans to seek information from teachers in advance if they have plans to travel overseas in a bid to overcome the issue. -DWI