Who will replace retired teachers?
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ABOUT 140 scholarship students bonded to become education officers would be available to succeed retired teachers once they complete their studies abroad by 2016, the Minister of Education said.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Abu Bakar Apong said 106 bonded scholars are projected to finish their studies this year.
In addition, he said 29 will complete their studies next year and another 11 in 2016.
The minister was responding to a question by YB Hj Jumat Akim on the long-term implications of insufficient teachers during the 10th Legislative Council proceedings yesterday morning.
The village head of Kg Putat raised his concerns on the education sector’s manpower planning, specifically the successors for teachers retiring in 2014-2017.
YB Pehin Dato Dr Hj Abu Bakar further said 91 students are bound to finish their Masters in Teaching (MTeach) programme at Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE) in September 2014.
The figure was an increase from 31 in 2011, and 55 in 2012.
“The Ministry of Education believes that we are capable of succeeding the retiring teachers with the amount of students under teaching programmes in local institutions and students bonded to become educators,” said the minister.
However, he said the teaching profession in the sultanate must prioritise not quantity, but quality of teachers.
“Having plenty of teachers does not promise an assembly line that produces quality students and an excellent education system,” the minister said.
“A school is only as good as the teachers,” he added.
YB Pehin Dato Dr Hj Abu Bakar said the proportion of teachers to students for 2013 currently stands at one teacher to 10 students, adding that the ratio was not the problem.
“The real predicament is the strategic placement or deployment of teachers accordingly to schools within the country,” said the minister.
Using Finland and Singapore as examples, he said teachers there are selected from the nation’s top 10 per cent of academically excellent students.
“These students who eventually become highly knowledgeable educators view the teaching career path as their main choice and not the last option,” the minister added.
“This measure is still newly introduced in our country and Insya Allah it will bring significant changes to our (education) landscape even when it will take time to see the fruits of its labour,” he said.
On the sidelines of the LegCo session, YB Hj Jumat believes that prospective teachers should not only replace retiring teachers.
Sharing the minister’s sentiments on quality, he said one of these qualities was a passion for teaching.
“We need to nurture an interest among students, a love to teach and share knowledge to others,” he said in an interview with The Brunei Times.
The minister said teachers in the past only needed to fulfil the minimum entry requirements to b accepted, thereby hindering the teachers’ quality and contribution.
The Brunei Times