The fewer number of Sarawakians joining the teaching profession is worrying a Barisan Nasional MP.
Raising the issue of teachers in parliament, MP for Kapit Alex Nanta Linggi said: “The number of Sarawakians becoming teachers is getting less and less as vacancies in Sarawak are filled by those who come from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
“We want the Education Ministry to train more Sarawakians who are qualified to become teachers instead of the ministry sending teachers from Peninsular Malaysia in big numbers to fill all these vacancies.
“It would be easier for the local teachers to be sent to the rural areas and to the longhouses to the native students,” he said.
Nanta pointed out that neither he nor his colleagues from Sarawak, who raised similar issues were anti-peninsular Malaysia but they all feel that it is imperative that “anak-anak Sarawak be given the first opportunity to teach in Sarawak and be allowed o join government service”.
“I don’t ask that teachers from Peninsular Malaysia be stopped from teaching in Sarawak. I appreciate their services and their contribution to teach in longhouses and in the interior of Sarawak.
“What is worrying is that the number of Sarawakians becoming teachers is getting less and less when compared with teachers coming from Peninsular Malaysia.
“It is the hope of the parents in Sarawak to see that their children who are qualified being given a chance to serve the government.
“That is the most important question,” Nanta stressed.
Local teachers terminated
The issue of teachers coming from Peninsular Malaysia was highlighted by the local media recently when the services of 607 daily paid teachers, who were barely two weeks into the new school term in Januray 2012, were terminated.
They were replaced by teachers from the peninsula.
Last year Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian had also raised the issue during the budget session of the state assembly when he said that parents in Sarawak were concerned over the subtle attempt by these teachers to impart Islamic teachings and practices to children in schools in the rural areas.
“There are reports from parents of school children that their children come home from school and recite the Islamic ways of praying at home,” Bian had said.
Bian called for qualified local people from their own community be recruited to teach in these schools to avoid any conflict of religious beliefs.