Retraining of non-option teachers to start next month

Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong

KUCHING: Nearly 7,000 non-option primary school teachers teaching Mathematics and Science will be undergoing retraining at four teacher education institutes across the state starting next month.

This was stated by Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin who said the programme will run for between six and seven weeks, and involves mostly teachers based in rural areas.

“In Sarawak today, we have a total of 2,995 non-option primary school teachers teaching Mathematics and 3,992 non-option teachers teaching Science.

“This is the real situation in the state,” he told a press conference after launching a book titled ‘Model Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Industrial Revolution 4.0 Middle Phase’ at Batu Lintang Teacher Education Institute, here yesterday.

He said all of the teachers concerned will be going for the retraining programme which will take place at the Batu Lintang, Samarahan, Miri and Rajang teacher education institutes.

The funds to run the programme have already been allocated by the ministry to the respective institutes, he added.

According to Manyin, Sarawak is lagging behind in terms of the percentage of students entering pure science in Form 4, with the state reporting only about 23 per cent compared to the target of 60 per cent.

Moreover, he pointed out the state has a total of 1,258 primary schools but 651 of them are considered as having low student population, with one school having only eight students but 13 teachers.

“It’s not because we are facing a shortage of Science and Mathematics teachers but it is an issue of distribution, where there were many small schools in the interior or schools with low student population throughout the state.”

He said the effort to merge schools with low student population into centralised schools was rejected by some parents due to sentimental feelings towards such schools.

On a separate matter, Manyin urged Batu Lintang Teacher Education Institute to shift from ‘specialisation’ to ‘generalisation’ when training new teachers, explaining that it would be more ideal for primary school teachers in the state to be able teach a wide range of subjects, instead of only the specific subjects they were trained on.

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