Claims of discrimination against Unitar graduates

Aziz (seventh right) hands over a letter to Omar in the presence of some Unitar graduates.

KUCHING: Special assistant to Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen, Abdul Aziz Isa, has alleged that there is discrimination against some local Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unitar) graduates.

Abdul Aziz, who is Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) Youth publicity secretary, said there is no valid reason for the Sarawak Education Department to reject their application to be teachers as they are qualified and very eager to teach in Sarawak unlike those from other states.

“There is a list of Unitar graduates who are unemployed while Sarawak is filled with teachers who want to be transferred back to Peninsular Malaysia. This arrangement defies logic,” he said through a press statement yesterday.

“According to the 90:10 policy aspired by Sarawak state government, I urge the State Education Department to absorb 105 Bachelor in Education graduates from Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unitar) to fulfil the 90:10 ratio of local teachers to those from outside the state by the end of this year,” he added.

Abdul Aziz cited reasons why the results of public examinations of Sarawakians were not up to standard.

“Reluctant and uncommitted teachers are bound to generate bad results. Therefore, I am not surprised if the results of the public examination of Sarawakians are not up to standard, thus not qualified to enter teacher-training colleges. Bad seeds germinate into bad trees, and bad trees produce bad fruits.

“When Sarawakians are taught by reluctant and uncommitted teachers, of course, their results might be negatively affected. This is unacceptable. We want to make sure that our children are being taught by qualified teachers as well. We must not allow this scenario to persist. Therefore, we must put a stop to this. Enough is enough.”

He said he was puzzled as to why 105 Unitar graduates who have applied for permanent teaching posts (Pegawai Perkhidmatan Pendidikan Gred DG41) to the Education Service Commission (SPP) via www.jobmalaysia.gov.my. have not been called to attend any interviews despite having graduated in 2013.

He said he found it ridiculous when in February 2010 a memo was circulated in the Education Department stating that recruitment of teachers can only be taken from IPTA and IPG (public institutions of higher learning and teacher-training colleges) but since then, Unitar graduates have been rejected as teachers.

“There was no reason given except to say it was the policy,” he said.

He recalled that in October 2015, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, who was then state minister for Welfare, Women and Family Development and who was in charge of education, said to achieve the target, the state Education Department had already put up an advertisement on its website to recruit graduates majoring in education, both from public and private institutions of higher learning, and that they also welcomed overseas graduates from universities recognised by Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

Unitar is a private institution of higher learning offering Bachelor of Education programme which is accredited by MQA.

Its graduates are all trained 100 per cent in English, and the graduates had a good track record in employment until 2010.

“What is ironic is that while the Education Ministry refused to employ Unitar graduates, other institutes such as MRSM (Maktab Rendah Sains Mara) and SMK Agama, all owned by the government, are taking them in,” Abdul Aziz claimed.

“A question arises, how come things don’t work according to their plan? Did the state government’s policy on 90:10 ratio fail? Given the power to make the decision, can’t both the state government and State Education Department make instant and sound decisions based on the needs?” he asked.

“Before that, Unitar had produced hundreds, even up to thousands, of graduates absorbed by the Education Department to teach in government schools. With the 90:10 initiative, I believe Unitar could easily provide more than 200 graduates who had ‘missed the boat’ since 2010. We have to be fully aware that the Education Department is looking for more locals to be trained as teachers, I hope the exercise would not be discriminatory,” he said.

“Furthermore, their Bachelor of Education programme is designed by Prof Dato Dr Ibrahim Bajunib, who is one of the three founding members of Institut Aminuddin Baki, a premier training centre for government teachers.

“As such, I really can’t see the reason for rejecting these graduates. So please stop the discriminatory practice. It’s not good for the people of Sarawak,” he asserted.

Abdul Aziz said this after he handed over a letter to Sarawak Education Department school management sector head Omar Mahli recently.

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