Monday, 23 November 2015

Cuti Rehat Tahunan for IPG Lecturers: Promotion or Demotion?

In this article, I would like to share my life experiences with my readers in response to the Cuti Rehat Tahunan (CRT) for IPG lecturers which is supposed to be implemented next year. Why are the IPG lecturers not in favour of the CRT? Is this a promotion or a demotion for the IPG lecturers? Whether this is a promotion or a demotion, I would leave it to my readers to judge after reading this article. I would like to emphasize here that it is not my intention to challenge anyone through this article - I only hope that it could help to bring about fairness and further improvement in our education system.

Before I proceed any further, I would like to give an introduction of myself as I am sure that my readers would be curious to know more about me. Who am I? I am an IPG lecturer who had served 10 years in a primary school and 13 years in a secondary school. To many, being a lecturer is a great achievement as clearly proven by the attitude of the people around me. Some of my friends and relatives who have been looking down on me all these while suddenly begin to be so unexpectedly kind and friendly (Is this what we call human nature?). They asked me why I am not driving an imported car now that I am a lecturer – a question which I am not ashamed to answer truthfully i.e. I belong to the paycut promotion category and that my salary now is  RM400 lower than that of the primary school teachers who graduated from college in the same year with me (This paycut promotion was introduced during the Badawi administration. In fact, I consider myself to be very lucky as my paycut is only RM400 a month - those who taught in the primary school for 16-20 years before they got their degrees have an even higher paycut of RM800-RM1000 per month i.e. the longer they taught in the primary school, the more their pay was deducted when they were promoted from the primary to the secondary school. All those affected by the paycut promotion are greatly traumatized and we choose not to talk about it because it really hurts. However, even little things like the CRT can trigger memories of this painful experience). What’s more, my relatives and friends even asked me to take them to a hotel for buffet to celebrate my new position which sounds more like a mockery to me. The question is: What is there to celebrate about when my salary as an IPG lecturer is lower than that of the primary school teachers who were in the same batch with me in college? But when I told them that my present income as an IPG lecturer is much less than the primary school teachers, they thought I was pulling their legs – that I was too stingy to pay for their buffet. Do you know that even the doctor who has been treating me all these while suddenly increased the medical fees when I told him recently that I am now an IPG lecturer? In other words, I am really in a dilemma because everyone thinks that I am rich and successful now that I am an IPG lecturer when the truth is my income is much lower than the primary school teachers. And what's more, primary school teachers can give tuition to supplement their income but IPG lecturers do not have the time to do so due to their long working hours. So who am I? Am I a failure? This is how people think of me whenever I tell them about my real situation. Yes, I admit that I am a failure. Life has taught me a terrible lesson. But then how could I know that primary school teachers with only a teaching certificate would be given a much higher salary than lecturers with a Ph.D.? I am not a fortune-teller nor could I foresee the future. To be frank, I really feel like crying each time I think of my ill-fated life... or to be exact... I really cry. What have I done? I only wanted to study up to the highest level. Why punish me for that? As a child, I believed that I would be successful if I study hard only to discover the painful truth that it is the other way round. I used to be very hardworking and full of energy and enthusiasm for life in the past but now I stare blankly at each day without any feelings because my aspiration to live a fulfilling life has been killed. 

Last Friday was the last day of the semester and all the lecturers at my IPG (Institut Pendidikan Guru) were very gloomy as they wished each other 'Happy Holidays' because from next year onwards there would be no more semester breaks for us. We were very sad because no one likes the idea of the "cuti rehat tahunan" (CRT) because we really need time to rest and refresh ourselves after the long working hours and hectic schedule. Since many of them are still doing their PhDs, they really need the holidays to write their thesis (due to their long working hours, there isn't much that they can do without the holidays). We also need time to write research papers. The question which arises here is why is the 'cuti rehat tahunan' imposed on the lecturers only and not the teachers as well? The teachers can also come to school every day during the school holidays to give the students free tuition so that the students won't  waste their time hanging around on the streets and/or at the shopping complexes doing nothing. IPG lecturers are not university professors – we do not have our personal office (we are packed into a small staff room like sardines and those who want to write their thesis/ research papers have to go around looking for empty classrooms) nor is our salary comparable to that of the university professors. In fact, we are not any better than the primary school teachers (if not worse) since our salary is the same as the primary school teachers (if not less). And it is indeed heart-rending to say that some of the IPG lecturers who taught the OUM courses (under the dasar pensiswazahan guru sekolah rendah) are now receiving a salary which is much lower than the primary school teachers whom they taught in the OUM (Open University Malaysia) Program. The implementation of the CRT would mean that the IPG lecturers would have less time to study for their PhDs or write research papers. This would also mean that they have to teach the KDC classes free of charge during the holidays even though they used to be paid to teach these classes before the implementation of the CRT. But why are the teachers paid for the tuition classes? In the Chinese Primary schools, the teachers are paid RM20-RM30 (the rate of 15-25 years ago) for teaching extra classes. When I was teaching in a primary Chinese school, I used to earn an average of RM300 per month from the extra classes. This is a very conservative amount as there are teachers from the Chinese primary schools who earn about RM1000 per month from these extra classes because they have the authority to take as many extra classes as they want. Even secondary school teachers who teach the NADI tuition classes are paid an extra allowance. Since the IPG lecturers come from school teachers, can you imagine who will dare to become IPG lecturers in the future if the lecturers were not given any more semester breaks/holidays? With the abolition of the school holidays to be replaced with the CRT, it seems most unlikely that the teachers who are enjoying so many holidays at school would give up their holidays to become IPG lecturers. After all, if the salary is the same (teachers and lecturers share the same salary scheme i.e. DG), why not stay in the schools and enjoy working half day with lots of holidays? Further, they can also make money by giving private tuition (private tuition is now a lucrative business) instead of teaching the KDC classes free of charge during the school holidays. Do you know that primary school teachers who are conducting tuition classes at their homes in the afternoons can make an average of RM10000 per month (tax free) from these tuition classes? It is very easy for them to get students because parents normally prefer to send their children to their teachers for tuition. When it comes to paying tuition fees to the teachers, our Malaysian parents are never stingy. A good friend of mine used to spend RM1200 per month on tuition fees alone for her 2 children (about 10 years ago).

Why should the IPG lecturers be deprived of their time to pursue further studies and do research? How can we improve ourselves and contribute to research if we are not given the time to do so? The Teachers' Training Institutes are actually school-based so why is it that IPG lecturers cannot have any semester breaks/holidays whilst the teachers are enjoying their abundant holidays when they are only working half day? This is probably one reason why many people are saying that our Malaysian teachers 'terima gaji buta' (get paid for doing nothing) as indicated in the Facebook excerpts below. When it comes to work, lecturers are expected to be highly qualified/educated professionals and researchers but when it comes to their monthly income they are not much better (if not worse) than the primary school teachers. But do the teachers really deserve to be paid a higher salary than the IPG lecturers and given so many holidays? Why is the PPSMI (The Teaching of Maths and Science in English) a failure? Because our teachers don't want to learn English. Why is the PBS (Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah / School Based Assessment) a failure? Because our teachers cannot set their own assessment questions i.e. they simply ordered a few sets of exercises from the publishers to be used as assessment questions which was unfair to those students who did not buy these questions beforehand and attempt to do them at home with their tuition teachers. What was even worse was that many of the teachers simply keyed in the bands without evaluating the students! And of course there was complain after complain from the teachers because they did not like the extra workload that came with the PBS. In actual fact, there was nothing wrong with the PBS as much would depend on how it was carried out. And you should have seen how unhappy and reluctant our teachers look when they have to come to school at 11.30 a.m. to conduct the PISA (Programme International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). I was wondering why my former school principal had to apologize to them before telling them to come. If working from 11.30 am to 6.45 pm for a few weeks per year (the afternoon session starts at 1.00 pm and ends at 6.45 pm) is such a difficult task for the teachers, what about the IPG lecturers who have to work from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm everyday?

Now let us compare the workload / life of teachers and IPG lecturers as indicated in the table below:
1.      Lecturers work from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm everyday. They cannot come late or thumb out earlier, not even one minute earlier.




2.      Lecturers have to work at night, sometimes until 10 pm, on public holidays as well as during the weekends to replace the lost credit hours when there are special events at the IPG or when they go out for practicum, meetings, or courses. They also have to give extra classes to the trainee teachers who are absent so that they would have enough credit hours. What about those lecturers who are teaching 28 hours per week? (Please take note that there is a lot of difference between 28 hours and 28 periods per week). If they were away for one week, the following week would be hell for them. Just imagine how they are going to replace the 28 credit hours that they have lost? Since the trainee teachers are fully occupied during the day, these replacement classes can only be carried out at night, on public holidays, and during the weekends. However, lecturers cannot claim for overtime work. Lecturers also have to attend courses during the weekends and sometimes when there are projects to be done during the weekends, they have to work until 5.00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
3.      IPG lecturers are required to have at least a masters degree and they are also encouraged to their PhD since they are teaching the undergraduates but sad to say, these postgraduate qualifications are not given any recognition for promotion at all. Lecturers are still paid as though they only have their first degree just like the teachers at school. With the school holidays being replaced by the CRT, the lecturers are left with very little time to pursue their PhDs or write research papers. This really seems ironic because lecturers are encouraged to pursue their PhDs and write research papers on one hand but forbidden to do so on the other by taking away their holidays so that they don’t have the time to do anything. To be very frank, the holidays are the best time to write our thesis and research papers but why are we being denied the opportunity to do so  by taking away our holidays?

4.     Lecturers are supposed to do research and publish ISI papers but with so much overtime work and so few holidays, how can they come out with any research work?

5.  Lecturers have to supervise the trainee  teachers throughout their Action Research which ends with the publication of a mini-thesis (action research report). Since many of our trainees still have problems with their language proficiency, it seems that the lecturers are writing their whole report for them. Can you imagine how the lecturers are writing so many mini-theses per semester with so limited time? I have 12 supervisees this semester and I dare say that marking their action research report is one of the most difficult tasks in the world as every sentence is filled with serious grammatical errors! Since these mini-theses are intended for publication, I have to ensure that there isn't any grammatical or spelling errors in them. Editing these mini-theses is indeed a very painstaking process. Whilst undergraduates in the universities are asked to pay an amount of money to the proofreaders to do the editing for them, trainee teachers in the IPGs need not look for proofreaders as their lecturers are their proofreaders who would have to do all the proofreading free of charge!

6.  IPG Lecturers teach undergraduate trainee teachers.

7.  IPG Lecturers dare not sell nasi lemak, batik, Tupperware, Amway/Cosway products, and insurance because of their status even though they may be earning less than the teachers. Thus no extra income for the  IPG lecturers.

8.  Lecturers have no time to give tuition due to their long working hours.

9.  Lecturers have no one to help them with their work. They do everything on their own as they have no assistants.

10. During the fasting month, lecturers still work from 8.00am to 5.00 pm every day.
1.      Teachers work half day as many schools dismiss their students at 1.00 pm. (Monday - Thursday) and 12.30 pm (on Fridays). At 12.30 pm or 1.00 pm, they can still have the whole day with them to do whatever they want. Although they do stay back after school for extracurricular activities, they don’t have to do so everyday. In many schools, the uniform units (18 times a year) and societies/clubs (12 times a year) are conducted during school hours i.e. the first 2 periods on Wednesdays. Only house practices and games (12 times per year) are conducted after school and the teachers can take turns to come. With 8-10 teachers in the 'Rumah Sukan' and so few students coming (with an average of 20 for the whole school as attendance is usually poor), how many times do you think the school teachers need to stay back (with the trainee teachers to help them and alternate with them)? Sad to say, many of our teachers do not come for the extracurricular activities even when it is their turn to come. And of course there are many teachers who have the chronic habit of entering class late or not entering class at all. "Biasalah" quoting what my former colleague (teacher) said on his retirement day when he admitted having this chronic habit.
2.      A teacher normally has 24-26 periods (30 – 40 minutes per period) per week. Those who are teaching form 6 only have 15 periods per week. Teachers do not have to replace any classes when they go out for meetings, attend courses, take MCs, or when their students are absent. That’s why they are particularly happy whenever there are special events at school because they don’t have to replace the classes that they have missed. (Teachers who are doing the school timetable purposely put their own classes after the assembly period  on Mondays knowing that the assembly could drag on to the second or even third period so that they can teach less).

3.      Teachers do not need to have a masters degree or PhD but they have the same pay as the IPG lecturers. For those IPG lecturers who fall into the paycut promotion scheme, they are earning up to RM1000 less than the primary school teachers who were once their course mates in the teachers' training college. Contrary to the IPG lecturers, teachers have all the time in the world to do anything they want. When school dismisses at 1.00 pm, they still have the whole day with them to enjoy life. When I was still a teacher, I had all the time in the world to write my PhD thesis and it was a good thing I got it done before I became an IPG lecturer because I don’t have the time to write anything now. I have also written many research papers (in various stages of development) during my days as a teacher which I don’t think it possible for me to do so anymore with the holidays being taken away.
4.      Teachers don’t have to write any research papers –  and since they are working half day and with so many holidays at hand, they can make a lot of money giving tuition and doing other kinds of business.

5.   Marking the students' exercise books is certainly a much simple task compared to the mini-theses. Many teachers just close their eyes when marking but this does not affect anything - no publication, nothing from the student's exercise books and of course there are teachers who do not mark their students' exercise books for months and even for the whole year. When the school authorities want to check the exercise books, then only they would pick a few exercise books (normally 5) and mark them before they give the exercise books to the 'ketua bidang' for checking.

6.  Teachers teach kindergarten kids, primary and secondary school students.

7.  It's nothing unusual for the teachers to sell nasi lemak, kuih, batik, Corelle / Corning Ware, Tupperware, Amway / Cosway products, Chulien artificial jewelries, insurance or even cakes and cookies at school. Thus they can make a lot of extra income.

8. In the primary Chinese school where I used to teach, we were paid RM30 per hour for BM/Chinese essay tuition classes and RM20 per hour for the English tuition classes (the rate of 15-25 years ago). School starts at 7.30 am and dismisses at 1.00 pm. The tuition classes are held from 1.30 - 3.30 pm from Mondays to Thursdays and from 7.30 am to 11.00 am on Saturdays. I was given one tuition class on weekdays and one tuition class on Saturdays. This would mean that I could earn RM320{(RM30x2 + RM20)x4} per month from these tuition classes. What about those teachers who stay back from 1.30 - 3.30 pm to teach tuition classes every day and are given 2 classes on Saturdays? Their extra income is {(RM30x8 + RM40)x4}=RM1120 per month from these tuition classes alone. What about the tuition classes during the school holidays? What about the private tuition classes at home? Our Malaysian teachers are really rich nowadays!

9.  When the trainee teachers are sent to the schools for practicum, they take over the classes from the school teachers. Some of these school teachers may end up having only 10 periods per week and that's why they have a lot of time chatting in the canteen. These trainee teachers dare not refuse to do the work given to them by the school teachers and so they ended up clipping and marking test papers for them, keying in the marks, training the students for choral speaking, story telling contests, and Teachers' Day presentation. Please remember that the trainee teachers do not come from the Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) and public universities alone. Many private universities are also sending their trainee teachers to do their practicum at the schools as well.

10.  During the fasting month, teachers teaching in 2 session schools can go back early every day. Those teaching in the morning session work from 7.20 am - 12.30 pm whilst those who teach in the afternoon session work from 12.30pm - 5.40pm. On Fridays, the afternoon session starts at 2.30 pm and dismisses at 5.40 pm (which means that the teachers work for 3 hours and 10 minutes only). Where can you find a job with so few working hours and so highly paid? Working so few hours per day is really heaven for our school teachers - a special privilege which other government servants are not entitled to!

Why pamper the school teachers with so many holidays (so that they can make extra money) and deprive the IPG lecturers of their only opportunity to write their thesis and research papers (something which they can only do wholeheartedly during the holidays)? Before the JPA come out with this 'cuti rehat tahunan idea', please consider the plight of the IPG lecturers. If they want to replace the school holidays with the CRT, to be fair, the school teachers should also comply with this new ruling because their salary is the same (if not more) as the IPG lecturers. Why are the school teachers given so many holidays when they are only working half day? With the ‘cuti jerebu’ and ‘cuti perayaan’ (eg teachers had 2 weeks off recently because of the haze and in the recent Deepavali celebration, the teachers were given 4 days off but IPG lecturers only had 1 day off i.e. on Deepavali day itself only and no haze holidays), our school teachers are really having a good life! Don't you think that the teachers should come to school during the 'cuti jerebu' even though the students were off? Below are two Facebook excerpts of what the members of the public think of our Malaysian teachers:

Even the hawkers at the market keep saying to me that Malaysian teachers 'terima gaji buta' (get paid for doing nothing). The Facebook excerpt above is a clear indication of this.

Think of it – who would want to become lecturers in the future when teachers are simply given as many holidays as possible? If I could live my life again, I would like to teach in a primary school or better still in a kindergarten – no need to go for SPM/STPM invigilation, no need to pursue a masters degree or PhD, no need to write research papers – just give tuition and make money and enjoy the school holidays, haze holidays, and festive holidays and have an enjoyable life. I have suffered a lot pursuing a PhD - there was no time for anything and when it was finally done - I would not be able to meet certain people again because they are dead (when they were still alive, I did not have the time to meet them as I was busy writing my Ph.D thesis). But what did I get? Paycut promotion (naik pangkat, potong gaji) and now even the holidays are taken away from me! That's why everyone says that I am a failure. Why am I so ambitious? Life would certainly be much more fulfilling for me if I have been much lazier and less ambitious! I have made a terrible choice in life and have to pay the prize for it. If only the time machine really exists, I would go back to the past and stay on in the primary school forever. But there is no going back for me now - the only thing I can do now is to look at the primary school where I used to teach each time I pass by and shed some tears of nostalgia.

To be fair, the 'Cuti Rehat Tahunan' should be imposed  on the teachers as well as their salary  is the same (if not more) than the IPG lecturers. The Education Ministry can always come out with some programs for the students during the school holidays so that  our Malaysian children do not have to waste their time doing nothing during the school holidays. Right now, only those parents who can afford to pay for tuition/drawing/music classes can have something meaningful for their children to do during  the  school holidays. Education should  be  free for all i.e. all Malaysian children are equal irrespective of whether they are rich or poor so let the teachers do their part as well since their salary is much higher compared to last time! Should our Ministry of Education need any ideas about programs for teachers, I will always be willing to help as I am writing some research papers about these programs which I hope to publish as soon as possible (much would depend on how much time I am given to complete them).


  1. betul tu, my cousin, kami sama2 maktab perguruan, sama tahun dilantik, saya mals belajar dia rajin belajar. selepas 10 tahun mengajar, sya rileks dia ambil stpm byr sendiri mau masuk u sbb masa tu kena ada stpm utk masuk u. dia dpt masuk u study 5 tahun out campus byr sendiri sambil kerja, saya masih rileks jer jadi cikgu sekolah rendah. Lpas tu dia dpt dg41 posting sekolah menengah, perubahan gaji hanya rm3 sbb gaji dia waktu itu sudah lepas stating dg41, berubah kpd tertinggi terdekat shj. masa sekolah menengah dia sambung belajar master di u, saya masih rileks jer mngajar sekolah rendah. masa itu kami dpt naik dg32 gaji pokok pun naik, mereka yg telah naik dg41 tidak terlibat tawaran ini, first round kami sudah potong dia punya gaji... haha very funny! selepas itu kami yang masih rileks mngajar di sekolah rendah dpt lagi kenaikan gaji 25% for non-graduate, dia dg41 hanya naik 15%, in round ke 2 durian jatuh betul2 kita orang potong gaji mereka jumlah -+rm600... adoi kesian mereka. my cousin, sekarang sudah lulus master dan sekarang bertugas di maktab perguruan... tapi gaji mereka masih bawah paras kami yg sekarang rata2 selepas 30thn servis dg34 mengatasi gaji mereka yg dg48 +-rm300-500.
    1.Kelulusan akademik rendah SPM-Sijil Perguruan gaji lebih besar daripada kelulusan ijazah-master.
    2.gred gaji dg34 mengatasi gaji dg48 dgn tempoh servis sama2 30 tahun
    3. pengalaman 30 tahun sek ren shj berbanding my cousin sek ren-sek men-ipg (pensyarah mah) tapi gaji saya lebih besar
    Jika kami sama2 pencen, saya pendptn lebih besar dari my cousin +-rm200-rm300, pencen dia lebih kecil dr saya. saya terima kehendak tuhan, dia tidak dpt terima perbuatan manusia.... our boleh land very2 funny mah... ha ha ha

  2. my cousin akan rugi pencen dr saya... sampai mati hak hak hak.