KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 – The government has developed a professional development strategic plan for lecturers in teacher’s training institutes (IPGs) with a target of equipping 33 per cent of them with doctoral degrees by 2020, the Dewan Rakyat was told Tuesday. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this was aimed at raising the quality of IPG graduates to be on par with that of other institutions of higher learning (IPTs).

He said the Education Ministry was in the process of transforming the IPG into a more credible institution to cater to the needs and requirements of the 21st century pedagogy. “Teacher training modules in IPGs have been revised to tailor to trainees competency and potentials,” he said when responding to a question from Zainudin Ismail (BN-Jelebu). Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said the teaching profession has become a profession of choice among Malaysians based on an increase in the number of applications received.

“Although the number of places for a Bachelor’s degree in education last year was only 3,000, the number of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia holders who applied for it online was 53,335. “Due to the overwhelming number of applications to become teachers, the ministry picked the best of the bests through stringent selection process and criteria, and screening tests,” he said. Muhyiddin said the ministry also implemented the Add-on Option Intervention Programme (Pito) to address issues confronting teachers not teaching according to options from 2011 to 2015.

The programme is aimed at improving the quality of teachers through added options (without changing the original options) and indirectly helped solve shortage of teachers for certain options, he added. He said 690 teachers observed Pito last year while 800 teachers would be trained through various options this year. In enhancing teachers’ professional development, he said in 2013, a total of 13,964 Grade DG41 and Grade DG44 teachers attended a competency development course to enhance their pedagogical skills and management.

“As for this year, various in-service training courses to improve teacher professionalism have been planned and implemented involving 305,058 teachers at the cost of RM41.8 million,” he said. On the new performance-based promotion scheme for teachers, he said about 5,000 teachers would get the opportunity to be promoted to a higher grade effective Jan 1. A new career path is also in the pipeline while the teacher replacement plan is being enhanced to enable teachers to get promotions, he added.

To a supplementary question from Zainudin, Muhyiddin said he was not concerned over accusations on teachers political leaning, adding that what mattered most was whether they knew their duties well. “Most importantly, we want to see their ability in carrying out their responsibility, imparting knowledge, building character, guiding students, and instilling the spirit of nationhood and patriotism,” he said.

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