Sunday, November 13, 2011

9 Hours

Next year trial runs will be carried out in 4 states for a 9 hour work day for teachers; basically it means for the morning session, it will be from 7.30 a.m - 4.30 p.m. For schools with afternoon session, it will be from 9.30a.m. - 6.30 p.m. Afternoon session still exists, years after the government supposedly went on a school building spree.

The Deputy Minister of Education said that one reason for this 9-hour work day trial is to ascertain whether teachers work too few hours. Perhaps regulating the hours would be good for us. Once the work day ends at 4.30 p.m., work ends and no more Saturdays for meetings and other activities. After all, the civil service operates on a 5-day week now. And an official 9-hour work day should also mean there is no need for sports activities in the evenings or the need to take students for competitions which run after working hours and over the weekend. Many teachers might actually find their weekends freer.

Teachers should also be subjected to breaks like the other civil servants. I wonder whether that means that teachers will have more flexibility of going in and out the school. 8)

NUTP is already up at arms. I bet many teachers too. And some are already using this as election fodder. Foremost would be the issue of co-curricular activities. Can we hold games like football, netball, hockey, volleyball in the hot 3 p.m. sun? Our schools are not equipped with halls. Most schools don't even have decent and clean toilets, let alone shower facilities. Canteen food is horrible in most schools. Staying back until 4.30 p.m. means that kids would be taking at least 2 meals at school.

It'd be interesting to see how this develops. I get the feeling that the authorities are looking for a fix to problems in our education system. Are all these fixes going to work and bring about change for the better? Good work ethics are becoming relics of the past. We seemed to be pushing all the buttons for a quick fixes but they don't seem to get the required results. Just look at how the PPSMI was implemented. After so many years, the Minister admits that a very small percentage was actually teaching Math and Science in English all these years. It's no wonder that PPSMI failed. The authorities never ensured that it was carried out as planned. Even right now... has anyone actually bother to find out what ails our education system? For as long as we cannot bring ourselves to admit the root of the problem, we'll continue to try to fix it with measures which we feel are measurable and quantifiable.

9 hours.... many teachers are already doing that if you consider taking home books to grade, preparing lessons out of working hours 'work'. As it is, many morning sessions are ending between 2.30 - 3.00 p.m. And we do not have the luxury of an hour set aside for lunch break. For some dedicated teachers, they are involved in training students for athletics and games. But then again, there are many too who seem to have nothing to do too....

Update 20th Nov, 2011
With one 'edict' the DPM aka Minister of Education declared that he had ordered the JPA to cancel this 9-hour thingy...

2 comments:

Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ7, for some, and in the teaching profession, there are too many, work expends with time. So, 9 hours may mean the same effort and volume of work but longer time now !

The physical conditions of our school do not support the 9 hours. Our buildings are basic, classes and a narrow corridor, for most schools. Some schools like mine do not even have a tree in the whole compound.

As you have correctly said, there is no clean and proper washroom facilities. Going to the toilets in most schools is like entering a hell hole. Just walking past one is enough to suffocate you.

The canteen ? We, teachers, know best what they sell sell these years !

However, absent parents would be happy. It means extending "baby sitting time" for them. For children with a good family life, this horrendous !!!

Those MOE officers in the comfort of their air conditioned offices with well stocked pantries and having the freedom for long AWOL breaks do not see all these.

AJ7 said...

Yup... 9 hours won't be the quick fix. The fix lies in the attitude.... and that is one uphill task.