To Teachers Unhappy About Being Posted At A Rural School

I was snooping around the Ministry of Education website wondering if there was a new SP & HSP to go with the new literature component (and boy was it hard! Nope, there aren't any new ones but the SP & HSPs were impossible to find via website navigation. I had to use google! If you're reading this MOE, plz make your website easier to navigate!) when I found this:
MOE response to "Unhappy Over Rural Posting"
5 January 2010
Ministry of Education (MOE) would like to refer to an article by Disgruntled Teacher, Batu Pahat, published in The Star dated 30th December 2009 on the issue of Unhappy Over Rural Posting.
When you signed up to become a teacher, it was to serve the needs of the children of the nation. Whatever their colour or creed and wherever the children need you. It was certainly not for you to serve in a school at the doorstep of your home. I feel saddened by your words: “It snuffed out my passion to teach!” My simple answer to you is “you are in the wrong profession!”
Becoming a good and committed teacher takes a lot out of the person who gives. But if it takes only 3 months for your flame to be smouldered, then you are definitely in the wrong profession. We, teachers, are supposed to help children grow through sound education; more so for children who are in the rural areas. They are the ones who need the kindness, patience, guidance and the lasting passion of a committed and giving teacher to help them.
For your information, the biggest number of teachers serving in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak are actually from Kelantan and Terengganu. These young teachers have been serving in these states for many years. Many have done so for more than three to five years.
Secondly, among the many teachers sent to Johore are senior teachers who, once upon a time, had to sacrifice by being separate from their spouses and children to serve where they are needed. Many of them are English Language teachers. If they, in their situation, can deliver where needed, what excuse have you got as a young teacher to deny your services to the children who need teachers so badly? Do you expect the MOE to uproot settled seniors and place them in the interiors just because young teachers do not wish to serve in these critical areas?
Furthermore, it is not that the MOE has not been addressing this issue. We are taking in many more locals to serve in Sabah and Sarawak. The MOE increased the intake of Sabah and Sarawak locals in 2009. There are also two new Teacher Training Institutes, specifically IPGM Miri and IPGM Keningau.
Finally, in line with the Ministry’s objective to narrow the gap between the rural and the urban, we in the MOE, have to do justice to the children who so badly need our help. `Cikgu’ please remember this: Yes, the children in Johor do need you, but the children in the interiors need you more. You need to seriously change your attitude towards teaching as a profession. It is not a bed of roses. It is giving to those who need you most.
Remember, our tagline should be “Children first in Education” as it is with many other nations in this world.
*Note: This article was edited for clarity & grammatical mistakes have been corrected. Also, there are parts of the response that didn't quite make sense. Then again, it is still a good response. My favourite lines are in bold.

I snooped around on google & I found the article that inspired this:
Unhappy Over Rural Posting
30 December
I am a new graduate teacher. I was recently posted to a national-type primary school in the interiors of Sarawak. This posting came as devastating news to me. After completing a three-month stint there without any basic amenities, it snuffed out my passion to teach.
One question that rings loudly in my mind is: Why does the Ministry of Education send an entire league of Johoreans to Sabah and Sarawak and bring teachers of other states to occupy the schools in Johor? Until today, I still cannot think of a good reason to justify the rationale behind the Ministry of Education’s drastic move.
The school holiday is drawing to a close. Unlike other teachers who are armed with all kinds of preparations for their charges, I am not in the mood to do anything at all. I am reluctant to go back to teach in Sarawak. I really hope to be with my sick parents so that I need not worry about them, thus enabling me to give my very best towards the development of my pupils.
Disgruntled Teacher, Batu Pahat.
I feel sorry for the disgruntled teacher who is so worried about his parents that he cannot work properly at a school which probably is similar to the one I am in. Unfiltered water. Generator for electricity. No cellphone coverage. No landline. The occasional Internet availability. Mine being a Secondary School; Primary Schools can have even harsher living conditions! 8 hour boat journey. If water levels are low, they will have to carry the boat over their heads with their bags on their backs. This can drag the journey on to more than 12 hours! Eating canned food every day. Washing, cleaning, bathing & drinking from the river. Only 4 hours of electricity each day. Bored. Antsy. I'm not surprised that he is dreading the thought of returning to school & is frustrated at being unable to return to his comfortable home.

Then again, every cloud does have a silver lining. Yes, even in his/her situation. The deeper you go into the interiors the smaller your classroom gets. Some Primary Schools have only 20 students or LESS! Imagine a class of only 3 to 4 students! It's a teaching heaven! Individual attention is plentiful & classroom management should be a breeze. Furthermore, the administration is usually very relaxed & will not give you too much pressure. There is also no problem with marking because of the small amount of exercise books! But the best part is... the deeper you go, the more money the government compensates you with. He could be making from RM500 to RM1.5k MORE than other graduate teachers!

Anyway, the MOE is not a bent over scrooge putting teachers in the harshest of environments without providing a way out. This teacher can apply for transfer & he WILL get it after serving for about 3-4 years because he comes from Semenanjung Malaysia. Locals will have to serve for more than 5 years before they are even considered for intra-state transfer.

My message for teachers who are in similar situations & having similar feelings is apply for transfer. While your application is being processed, do your best for your school. Work like the school you are in is the perfect school that you've always dreamed of working at. God has placed you where you are for a reason and I'm sure that reason is pretty clear to you. There is much to do. Do not be disappointed or broken when your transfer applications are denied. Keep applying & keep serving. If you are serving in Sarawak, chances are, you WILL be transferred in at most 5 years.

My message for MOE is the question he posed actually makes a lot of sense. Last time I heard, Johore has an insatiable grave shortage of teachers. So much so that, a few years ago, they hid the transfer applications they received for a few years and pretended to have passed it on to Putrajaya. Johore locals should really be sent back to Johore. The same goes for the locals of Sabah & Sarawak. Only those from states without vacancies should be placed in other states. Furthermore, less me stress that you should NEVER sacrifice quality for quantity. Do not accept someone just because you need to meet a quota. What's the point of training a cat to be a lion? The person you choose will make or break future generations!


  1. that teacher is clearly in the wrong profession...then again, even the most dedicated and passionate teacher could turn into something like that when sent to harsh places in the interior...some of us just could not stand living in that kind of life...

  2. Anonymous8/1/10 07:00

    Very good reply. I've had many friends working in the interior and many are quite happy to be there but of course, home is home ...and they all hope to go home as soon as possible once they've served their term. Can't blame them for that.

    The students are the same in the interior. The admin and the staff in general make a big difference. I know someone who was very positive...but with the kind of headmaster he has, he is really demoralised. I don't blame him either. Very sad! And it is even sadder that those like my friend are few and far between...and the majority are like the disgruntled teacher!

    The sick parents bit may just be an age-old excuse...and a pretty lame one at that. No brothers and sisters? If genuine, he/she could get a specialist in the government hospital to certify and he/she can apply for a transfer home. They DO consider that.

  3. hi jarod!

    haven't dropped a comment for awhile. the hsp and syllabus, i got it from internet (mine is primary school la kan).and, i heard we're changing the curriculum in 2011. more focus will be given to english and bm. the newwest NKRA focus for education is developing LINUS (literacy n numeracy).

    about the posting, actually the PPD themselves are handling tough cases. I heard from my GB that there are many teachers go to PPD with anger and tears. So imagine, they have to play with many cards. What I believe is, any place that I got posted, is my fate. Any school, will have problems. I heard cohort 3's posting is quite good. Because last time, cohort 2 primary school opt, ramai yg kena hantar sabah n sarawak. may all of us will hold on tight to this profession. because our nation needs good education badly.

  4. nicely put jarod! in coincidence, i was too, just browsing around to find new information from MOE when i bumped onto this letter. well, to me, the sender shoud be more tactful in delivering his or her thoughts, especially when it comes to issue like this. we all know 'posting' is always an ISSUE. hahaha.

    good one there, jarod!

  5. I totally agree with your response

    p/s: Us secondary cohort 3 havent been posted yet and its already 2nd week of school. i dont mind being posted anywhere, as long as i can get to teach soon. I really think this is THE profession for me :P

  6. Hafis: Yeah~~ That's true...
    That's why he should apply for transfer.
    But while he waits, he should be a responsible employee & do his best at the school he is in.
    A win-win situation.

    Arthur: Yeah... My initial response when I read about the parents was similar too. Too many ppl have used their parents as an excuse.
    But then again, we are not in his shoes so we do not have any idea what it is truly like. There may be an authentic cause for concern.
    And thanks for the suggestion, I never knew that ppl could get transfered because of their parents.

    Aini: You're right! Our nation does need good education!
    Just look at what they are doing out there!
    Burning churches? WTF? Tada otak ka?

    Fa: Yeah. I agree that this person was not tactful enough. He should have provided more details if he wants to make a strong point.
    I think he just wants to rant & be heard thus the short letter.

    Azmy: Well, I think it's time you guys start sending your CVs around! =)

  7. Anonymous23/1/10 01:50

    i think he should join the ministry of health rather than MOE... he is definitely in wrong profession. Perhaps he should pray to god so that he'll be posted to a very decent school... man, he should say thanks to God because he is employed now...

  8. the earlier reckoned bad 'posting' to sabah is now the best thing ever happen to me.

    i don't think i'll be this lucky if i ever got to teach in semenanjung.

    btw, we are 'makan gaji' people or government servant. so serve la wherever you are posted to.

  9. Warid: Well, ppl don't age with time, they age with suffering.
    This guy has a little growing up to do.

    Sayda: Indeed! Working in the interiors can sometimes be a blessing! =)


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