Hire teachers based on ability, not race, says academic

Teo Kok Seong says the new government must do better than the previous administration in hiring the right people as teachers.(File pic)

PETALING JAYA: An academic has called for a more representative workforce from all races in the education system, saying everyone should be given a chance based on their ability.

Speaking to FMT, Teo Kok Seong of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said there should be no classification by race in this day and age.

“We should place competency as the first criteria for any job application,” he added.

Teo, who is also part of the National Council of Professors, called on the new government to do better than the previous administration in this regard.

He claimed the former government had favoured the Malays when filling educational posts, whether in schools or higher education facilities. This, he said, appeared to have been part of Umno’s agenda “untuk bangsa, agama dan negara” (for race, religion and nation).

“They should appoint the best people for the job based on their competency, not just because they are Malays.

“There are non-Malays who perform, and there are also Malays who do not. We should, by right, start by selecting more representatives from each of the races.”

Malaysia’s education policies ‘world-class’

Commenting on the country’s education policies, Teo said there was nothing to change as they had been well designed by Malaysians and even endorsed by the famous education consultant company, McKinsey.

“We are following the world’s best system,” he added.

He said the education blueprint drawn up in 2013, which includes schools and institutions of higher learning, was designed after going to the ground and approaching individuals and NGOs to understand the people’s aspirations.

Where the failure lay was in the implementation and enforcement of these plans, he said.

“We have good education policies but these are not implemented properly. That is where we have failed in the education system.

“The new government should take this as a challenge to implement the policies properly.”

For example, he claimed, the use of Malay as a unifying factor had failed as racial polarisation was apparent in schools.

“We have encouraged racial segregation at a very young age, where we have Malay, Chinese and Indian students going through separate school systems that represent their own races.

“We want to set Bahasa Melayu as the national language, but it is not happening here.

“Countries like Indonesia, Italy and Germany have prioritised their own languages and succeeded, but we have failed.”