Another pre-Deepavali briefing for teachersA number of Hindu primary school teachers in Penang are being forced to change their holiday plans this coming weekend because of a last minute re-scheduling of a course that they have been instructed to attend.
Those affected are Year 4 English teachers in vernacular schools. The course is to brief them on changes to the curriculum following the implementation of the Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR) in 2011.
The course was originally scheduled to run between Oct 23 and 26, but the affected teachers were only informed on Monday about the new dates, which will be from Oct 28 to 31. The course is conducted by the Penang Education Department at the District Education Office in Seberang Perai Utara.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy (right) told Malaysiakini that he had received several complaints from the affected teachers who are celebrating Deepavali.
"The course ends two days before Deepavali. It spoils the plans of those teachers who need to leave for their home towns a few days earlier," he said.
'Make sure it doesn't recur'
Ramasamy said it was distressing that he received such complaints almost every year and it showed that the Education Ministry was insensitive to Hindus.
"Would they do this if it was Aidilfitri? This just shows that they are insensitive to others. Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan is aware of this and is keeping quiet.
"I want the Education Ministry to rescind this directive and make sure that this never happens again," Ramasamy said.
One senior teacher who spoke to Malaysiakini said that the course could have been conducted much earlier in the year and lamented that the Education Department often held courses only towards the end of a year.
"It's always like this. It always clashes with Deepavali," said the teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
This is the second of such incident brought to light in three days. On Tuesday, Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran raised the case of invigilators for SPM and STPM examinations having to undergo training on Nov 1, which is the eve of Deepavali.