Thursday, 20 October 2011

Can we go beyond DG?

How do you feel when a friendly handshake and a few introductory sentences with new acquaintances are greeted with this question, "Cikgu DG berapa?" I mean what kind of question is that? We just met for goodness sake...Let me relate something that happened in May this year. I was attending a meeting for about four days up north. This meeting was an important one and we had IPGM lecturers as well. Right after dinner on the day of arrival, I happened to be in a lift with two ladies, both PHD holders. One of the ladies started a conversation and we discovered then that we were all attending the same meeting (small world). All of a sudden, the lift door opened on the fourth floor and hey, incidentally, we were on the same floor too!

As we were stepping out of the lift, one of them popped THE question, "Cikgu Dg berapa?" , to which I responded honestly. "Oooo...", came the reply, with that you-know-what kind of meaning attached :). As we were pacing the hall to our rooms, the lady sarcastically remarked, " Waaaah, kalau naik kapalterbang tu business class cikgu!" My jaws almost dropped but I managed a faint smile. I could sense that she was unhappy about something. I felt like it was a sin being promoted and that we teachers don't deserve  promotion. (The letters to editors about the recent salary increase announced in the latest budget should give you enough clue that envy is the name of the game) And yet we talked about upholding teachers' profession (memartabatkan profesion perguruan)! How can we ever achieve that if we are small-minded?  Nevertheless, I headed straight to my room and so did the two of them. And the lady's room happened to be next to mine ok...enough coincidences for one night I thought. It was only later during the closing speech did I realise the bitterness was due to the lack of recognition on PHD holders by the government or rather the lack of remuneration! One of them was at the rostrum closing the meeting and relating how she could have worked in a foreign university with a bigger pay...The bitter feeling has been there for many years I guessed. 

I understood the bitterness then. Fair enough- I don't blame them for feeling that way but please don't take it on others. Others worked very hard too to be at this level now. Just because we teach in schools does not mean we don't deserve to be on par or even better than those in other institutions. We each have our own path in our respective schemes. Everyone has the chance to upgrade and improve. All it takes is hard work , commitment and performance. On top of that for the nation to remunerate teachers based on their academic qualifications, it has to transform itself into a high-income nation first.

To cut a long story short, on the second day, I discovered that the two ladies were important people in the meeting, one of whom was a key player in decision-making. And to answer the sarcasm on the plane thing- I've never had the opportunity to fly business class since my promotion because  there was either a lack of meetings/courses due to financial constraints or the location did not warrant a flight ticket. I have yet to relish the comfort of a business class seat and I'm not even complaining :)


  1. That is really a platitudinous question among teachers. I am sick of it too.

  2. people...i heard abt this since i enrolled myself in the teacher training institute..and i maybe wrong but for me, if we are only chasing the title, like DG, PhD, Jusa or whtsoever, our effort then seems meaningless..

    i know that it has been awhile since this situation happens but still as u mentioned back then, it is our inner self..acknowlegement and recognition is given/gain from people or the government. so, sorry to say, this attitude maybe the reason why they do not have the recognition yet till today..

    sorry if im showing my immature comments and im still learning..

    for you teacher, thanks for being superb all this year! i saw sains sembrong bus in kl last week. diorng belom serahkan ke bus tuh?? cuz i managed to ask the driver last year that the buses were kept at sains hulu slangor??

  3. sintaicharles,
    platitudinous indeed :)people should see us as we are and not be judgmental. i find it hard to find sincerity in education and to give credit where credit is due.

  4. apple damien,
    sometimes i feel like hiding under the table when i meet people. im not saying i'm good or anything of that nature but i've gone through a rigorous process of selection from the federal inspectorates. i don't need to prove anything to anyone but the parties concerned. it's time teachers are acknowledged for what they do in the classroom. we still haven't got our bus yet btw. heard there was a minor accident involving the bus..


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