Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hindu teachers upset over briefing

Hindu teachers upset over briefing

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Suganthi Suparmaniam
PETALING JAYA: Hindu teachers are up in arms over the Education Ministry’s directive to hold a compulsory invigilating briefing for teachers on Deepavali eve, calling it “downright inconsiderate”.
The briefing will be held on Nov 1. Deepavali falls the next day.

The briefing, which usually takes about three hours, is basically to give instructions to teachers on issues like what time they need to be at school to invigilate, introduce the teachers who are in charge in the morning and afternoon sessions and teaching them on how to fill the claim forms.

A teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said such a briefing is only needed for those new to invigilating, but stressed that there is no need to hold a special briefing for that purpose.

“With today’s technology, the ministry can just e-mail the instructions or explain all the details before the invigilating begins. Otherwise, the teachers can learn on their own with the manual given,” the teacher said.

“There is no need for a briefing if they can use other ways to communicate and certainly no need to have it on Deepavali eve. That’s so inconsiderate,” she said.

The teacher, who has been an invigilator for the past 15 years, said this is the first time the briefing is held on Deepavali eve.

Another teacher, when contacted, said the reason why the briefing is held on Nov 1 could be because many teachers are on leave on Nov 4 (Monday) for Awal Muharam which falls on Nov 5.
“Many Hindu teachers were told by the schools that they cannot take leave on Monday because their Malay colleagues are on leave. Now teachers who are invigilating cannot even take leave on Nov 1 [Friday] because of the briefing. This is so unfair,” the teacher said.

The teacher, from Johor, said the compulsory briefing will also be a problem in the state where most schools have applied for “cuti peristiwa” (special leave) on Nov 1.

The compulsory briefing scheduled for Nov 1 is for teachers invigilating in the coming Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examinations.

The issue was first brought up by Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer who called on the ministry to change the briefing date, saying that the compulsory briefing has caused teachers celebrating Deepavali much anxiety and anguish.

DAP vice-chairman M Kulasegaran also called the decision to hold the briefing as insensitive to the Hindu teachers who would be celebrating Deepavali the next day.

Johor MIC treasurer Datuk Randhir Singh also wants the briefing rescheduled in the spirit of 1Malaysia.

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