Sarawak short of English, Science, and Mathematics teachers

Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

SARAWAK is experiencing a shortage of teachers to teach English, Science, and Mathematics in schools.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said these are significant problems which resulted in poor examination results among the students.

He said about 30 per cent of all teachers are teaching English as their non-primary option, especially in primary schools throughout Sarawak.

“In other words, they do not specialise in the teaching of English. Instead, they are trained to teach other subjects.

“However, because there are insufficient English teachers, they are forced to teach English,” he told reporters after officiating at the handing over of Yayasan Sarawak School Uniform Assistance vouchers for Tebedu constituency at Dewan Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Tebakang.

According to the New Sarawak Tribune, Manyin revealed that about 55 per cent of the Science and Mathematics teachers did not specialise in the subjects.

He added that the state government had spent a sum of RM10 million on implementing the Teaching and Learning Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) Programme in schools.

“The Ministry of Education (MoE) has helped us train the teachers. That was why over 200 lecturers from Teacher Education Institutes (IPGs) nationwide came over to Sarawak to train Primary One school teachers who are teaching Mathematics and Science in English,” he said.

Manyin also recalled Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg being asked by former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to take up the challenge of teaching Mathematics and Science in English.

The chief minister responded with a yes without hesitation.

“It was a tall order, but as the minister-in-charge, I have to work hard to make sure we implement what was accepted by the chief minister,” said Manyin.

He hoped that English proficiency in schools throughout Sarawak would improve with the implementation of PPSMI.

“The number of periods (for PPSMI subjects) has been increased from eight to 10 per week,” he said.