SIBU: Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) is suggesting that Miri and Rajang teachers’ training institutes (IPGs) be fully utilised for up-skilling and upgrading of teachers.
STU president Jisin Nyud believed this would help tackle the issue of teacher shortage in Sarawak. He was commenting on Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching’s recent statement that the Ministry of Education would review the previous government’s decision to change the status of nine of 27 IPGs in the country, to polytechnics and vocational colleges.
Teo was quoted as saying that her ministry would take into account the views of all parties before making a decision, adding that at present, there were 27 IPGs with a capacity of 31,000 trainees but current enrolment was only13,000 or 42 per cent of the capacity.
She had told the Dewan Negara sitting recently that the previous government through a Cabinet meeting on May 24, 2017, made the decision to convert the function of the IPGs to TVETs, and that they would review it.
Jisin said: “STU agrees with the Education Ministry to review the previous government’s decision to change the status of nine out of 27 IPGs to polytechnics and vocational colleges. Since we have 27 IPGs (in the country) with a capacity of 31,000 students but current enrolment is only 13,000 students or 42 per cent of the capacity, it’s a waste of resources.
“Considering their feasibility, IPG Rajang and IPG Miri will be reviewed. TU is suggesting getting them fully utilised for training, up-skilling and upgrading of teachers not only for primary but also secondary school teachers.”
According to its director, IPG Miri in 2013 was recognised as the centre of indigenous pedagogy for the Sarawak zone.
It is also the centre of excellence for Penan and Iban Education, while IPG Rejang specializes in the training of teachers majoring in Iban language, Jisin said.
“At the moment, there are 2,490 teachers in Sarawak who are non-Iban option. Sarawak definitely still needs more teachers majoring in Iban language.
“On the shortage of teachers, we want the Education Ministry to send trainees to IPG Rejang and IPG Miri for the training of primary and secondary school teachers.
“I believe this is very useful and beneficial for Sarawak in order to meet the shortage of teachers. Since we have lecturers in these institutes, we should use them.”
Jisin said STU was always against the closure of the two existing teaching institutes considering that the efforts and struggles of our past leaders in persuading the government to fulfill Sarawak’s dream of having one teaching institute each to be located in the southern, central and northern zones of Sarawak.
“With the closure of Miri and Rajang teaching institutes we are worried that our dream of achieving 90 per cent local teachers cannot be achieved,” he said.