Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Win-Win or Not?

I hadn't planned on commenting on this situation until our respected MCA President, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (OKT) decided to play up the victory. In an article in TheStar today, OKT commented that accepting school-leavers from Chinese independent schools into teacher-training institutes is a win-win situation. So, I wondered, win-win for whom? OKT elaborates further, saying that

  1. This will not only increase the number of teachers but also give a chance for the Chinese independent school-leavers to serve the country.
  2. The party welcomed the decision as it recognised the contributions of the Chinese independent schools.
  3. The party's Youth wing would co-operate with the Education Ministry to ensure that it was carried out smoothly and successfully.
Our most respected MCA President is glazing the truth over and trying to claim a political victory for people from the Independent Chinese schools. The picture isn't as rosy and before anyone thinks so, please go and read the original article, also in TheStar. The original article quotes our Minister of Education, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein instead. And it paints a slightly different picture of the whole situation. He claims that:
  1. They agreed in principle to take these students in and are now working out the conditions of entry with the teacher-training institutes.
  2. They cannot take these teachers from vernacular schools and it may not be suitable to take in teachers from China for this purpose.
  3. These teachers would be placed at the schools on a contract basis because this was a new scheme.
For now, I see this announcement as just election talk. As the Education Minister clearly says, there is no deal and nothing solid while the details are still being worked out. I surely hope that the details will be worked out and written down as official policy and procedure before the next General Election. This is just in case our Education Minister gets replaced by another person during the cabinet reshuffle after the next GE.

However, the biggest blotch on the picture is that these teachers will be contract staff instead of being admitted directly into the teaching service. In other words, they are not admitted as full staff and are not entitled to the benefits of being a contributing member to the school. Neither will they gain the necessary protections that are given to full employees under the law. The most important of these being that they can be given the sack at pretty much anytime.

So, now I see how it's a win-win situation for all. The MCA can tell people that the government now hires people from these schools. Then, UMNO can tell people that these people aren't employed by the government as they do not enjoy any employee benefits and can be sacked at any time. This is seriously idiotic political double talk, if you ask me.

No comments: