SHAH ALAM - The remaining batch of interim teachers appointed on a contractual basis in 2019 are worried about the uncertainty of their fate following the lack of response from the Education Service Commission (SPP) on their recruitment process.
Teachers affected told Sinar Daily they were now living in limbo, unable to plan ahead beyond April, which is when their teaching contract ends.
Syazana, a teacher in Klang Valley, said she was not only sad and worried but also felt betrayed by the system.
“I poured my heart and soul into teaching despite being made clear of my contractural status the whole time.
“Us contract teachers received the same workload as the others if not more too.
“It’s just too much to bear, on top of our financial commitment. If we were to be discontinued, I would need to find work at private schools or tuition centres for the time being,” she said.
Syazana said most of the teachers had just finished the Teaching Diploma when news of this contract issue was raised.
She said many have been asking around about when their interviews with SPP would be scheduled but not many received a precise answer.
“I just want them to expedite our interviews with SPP. At least provide us with a clear answer on what to expect or when to expect,” she said, adding that she only heard Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jadin ask SPP to expedite things a few days ago.
David, who serves as an interim teacher at a school in Perak said he is dissatisfied with the way the relevant authorities have handled the issue thus far.
He said the teachers felt that they were of no importance to the authorities and felt that they were at their disposal when not needed.
“I’m pushed into a spiral of despair and I can’t move forward in life without securing this position.
“As soon as the third year of my contract began, I began to feel restless.
“No one from the Education Ministry or SPP ever responded when I reached out to them.
“My friends, colleagues and even the school principal began to worry about my future, as they couldn't afford to lose a skilled English instructor due to the inaction of the authorities,” he said.
To pay the bills, he said he will have to start over with a clean slate, carrying my resume to any private schools or centres and any part-time jobs he can find.
According to Jane, based in a school in Pahang, many felt affected by the situation as they had gone through various exams, interviews and even did the diploma to fulfil all the requirements to be hired by the SPP.
"We (interim teachers) have been feeling anxious about this issue since last year, we are seeking comfort and encouragement from each other since we do not know if the higher authorities will help us through.
"I would feel very cheated if they decided to suspend our contract abruptly because I think the higher authorities need to prioritise us," she said.
Meanwhile, an interim teacher from Teluk Intan named Hafiz said he was initially hopeful when he started the programme back in 2019.
However, he said the hope started to fade as speculations started popping up regarding their fate.
"I don't know what I would do if I'm not given the opportunity to be hired as a teacher because it is the only source of income for me.
"I always see myself as a teacher because that's the only thing I have ever known since I entered university,” he said.
Interim teachers, with DC41 status, act as supporting teachers to help with the shortage of teachers at school.
In order to be permanent government school teachers as DG41, they would need to be “hired” by SPP.
According to these teachers, Sinar Daily interviewed, their contracts will end on April 22 this year.
“As of now, we were told that contracts of about 400 or so English interim teachers from 2019 will not be extended.
“The ministry’s Human Resources unit is pushing SPP to carry out interviews and recruit us before April 22.
“However, we were informed that they are trying to extend our current contract to six to 12 months while we wait for the recruitment and placement process by the SPP,” Syazana told Sinar Daily.
On Monday, Radzi said the SPP was fully committed to expediting the recruitment of teachers required by schools nationwide.
He had said this was following his meeting with the new SPP chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mazlan Yusoff today to discuss several important matters related to the ministry's efforts to strengthen the education sector, especially on the recruitment of new teachers, among other things.
He had also requested SPP to speed up the interview process for candidates under the Contract of Service and interim teachers whose contract would end this year beginning April involving teachers for English subjects appointed in 2019, Islamic Education teachers as well as those attached with the Sabah and Sarawak State Education Departments.