MIRI: Some 2,000 teachers in Sarawak are fuming over a sudden transfer as school reopens today.
As the directive from the Education Ministry will take effect immediately, the transfers could create chaos in the classrooms.
Many of those affected claimed they have to move from one end of the state to the other, and to the rural areas.
Not only was it done at such a short notice, but many of the affected teachers specialised in important subjects such as English and Bahasa Malaysia.
The affected schools were also unsure as to who would be filling the void because the heads were not given prior notice.
The Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) had been inundated by calls from affected teachers and from others worried about what may happen next.
STU president William Gani Bina yesterday told The Star that the 38,000 teachers in the state were speaking up over this “messy affair” and the manner in which the ministry had conducted the exercise.
“They have families and have been serving in their present schools for a long time. They were not consulted over the transfers,” Gani said.
“The Education Ministry used the term ‘redeployment’ but these teachers were being relocated all over Sarawak.
“Sarawak is very big. If you transfer someone from Kuching to Limbang or to a school in the rural area, it is like transferring that person from one end of the peninsula to the other.
“Many schools are already facing a serious shortage of experienced teachers, especially in English. This transfer is very chaotic and will cause a lot of problems for the affected teachers, schools and students.”
Gani said he had urged Deputy Education director Datuk Norizan Hashim to look into the matter.
“I told Norizan that this was a very serious matter because of the unique geographical and logistical set-up of the state.
“The ministry cannot simply enforce a transfer of teachers en masse without taking into account the impact.”
Gani said STU wanted experienced and senior teachers to stay at their present postings.
It also asked for an assurance that Sarawakian teachers would not be transferred to other states, he stressed.
“If these teachers are not happy, they would not be able to teach well and their students would be affected. Worse if these affected teachers resigned,” he said.
Asked on Norizan’s response, Gani said the matter would be referred to the ministry’s highest authority.
There are some 38,000 teachers serving in 162 primary and 177 secondary schools in Sarawak.