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Datuk Felician Teo
SIBU: The plan by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research to hire retired teachers in English, Mathematics and Science (STEM) to act as trainers of current teachers in these subjects is a step in the right direction.
According to educationist Datuk Felician Teo, this will certainly enhance the level of teaching STEM subjects and raise the interest in these subjects among the students.
“The fact that the state ministry is prepared to commit a budget to employ these retired teachers should be regarded as a proactive move to provide additional resources to upgrade teaching standards even though schools are under the direct purview of the federal Education Ministry,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Teo was commenting on Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong’s recent statement that his ministry was in the process of engaging retired English, Mathematics and Science teachers to become trainers of current teachers of these same subjects.
Manyin had said that armed with new know-how, these teachers would then return to their respective districts and become facilitators adding that this was among the efforts to boost students interest in the key subjects for STEM at the formative level.
On this, Teo figured there are, however, some limitations in hiring and redeploying retired teachers as trainers which the state ministry should take cognisance of.
He pointed out that while retired teachers may, on one hand, have the experience and knowledge in these subject areas, they may not have the relevant skill sets to act as trainers.
“They may be required to undergo a ‘train the trainer’ course before being deployed to train existing teachers in schools.
“Some retired teachers who may not have undertaken regular professional development courses may lack current or relevant teaching methodology and pedagogy skills. These retired teachers should also be required to undertake relevant programmes first,” he suggested.
“It is therefore necessary to establish a selection process to choose the most qualified and able candidates who must meet a set of trainer criteria,” he added.
“The state ministry should work with the federal Education Ministry and existing teacher training institutes to enlist the necessary expertise to do the selection and identify the relevant ‘train the trainer’ course for the selected retired teachers,” he said.
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