Media Statement by DAP Senai Assemblywoman and Assistant Publicity Secretary of DAP Women’s Wing, Wong Shu Qi on 3rd July 2013 in Johor Bahru:
Johor Education Department should launch a special taskforce to ease the burden of paperwork on teachers instead of monitoring their social media accounts.
It was reported in Sin Chew Daily on 29th June that the Director of Johor Education Department, Mohd Nor Ghani, had warned teachers not to post any anti-government comments online and that the department had already formed a team to monitor teachers’ online activities. He also stated that any person who does not abide by the directive will be punished.
Instead of monitoring the online activities of teachers, I suggest that the Johor Education Department focus on forming a team to ease the burden of teachers who are faced with a huge mountain of paperwork on a regular basis.
A teacher’s responsibility is to educate as well as oversee the physical and mental development of students. However, teachers nowadays are tasked with keying in students’ data at the beginning and end of the school year, apart from all sorts of administrative work that should be handled by trained civil servants.
Anyone who has accessed this particular web portal to enter students’ data would agree that not only does the task take up valuable time that could instead be used more constructively, the site is completely user-unfriendly making it very frustrating for teachers who are not tech-savvy.
The Education Department must be reminded that teachers are trained to teach and inspire students, not bogged down by menial administrative tasks.
On another point, Mohd Nor Ghani’s remark about teachers making anti-government comments reflects an abuse of power — teachers as well as university lecturers are the conscience of society as they have certain social obligations to speak up and voice their concerns about society in general. To punish an educator who expresses dissent is against intellectualism, which in turn will stifle and stunt creativity and innovation.
This is a biased and unfair move by the Eucation Department, added to the fact that elected representatives from Pakatan Rakyat have already been barred from attending government school functions and activities.
I urge the Johor Education Department to stop policing the teachers’ online activities and implement the following:
(1) Lift the ban on Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers as they are democratically-elected representatives of the people as well as taxpayers;
(2) Take proactive steps to ease the burden on teachers so that they can focus on the important task and responsibility of educating our children.
Wong Shu Qi