Ministry getting more details on student’s suit against absent teacher

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching says the ministry will probe whether there was any wrongdoing.

SHAH ALAM: The education ministry is waiting for a detailed report from the Sabah Education Department regarding a lawsuit filed by a former student in Kota Belud against her teacher who allegedly did not turn up for class for seven months.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said if the 18-year-old girl’s claims were true, it was a disappointing affair.

“If indeed there was a complaint filed but was not given due attention, I feel we should check where the wrongdoing was committed, if any,” she said after opening Wisma NUTP Selangor at Section 7 here today.

Present were national NUTP president Kamarozaman Abd Razak and Selangor NUTP chairman Abu Bakar Semaat.

Nafirah Siman, 18, a former SMK Taun Gusi student, filed the suit against Jainal Jamran, whom she accused of not coming in to teach for seven months in 2015, while she was in Form Four.

The suit, filed on Oct 16, also named the school principal, Suid Hanapi, the Kota Belud district education officer, director of the Sabah Education Department, the education ministry and the government as defendants.

In her suit, Nafirah, among others, claimed that Jainal did not turn up to teach from February to October 2015, except for one week when an officer from the ministry visited the school.

The teenager also claimed that although several complaints had been made, no action had been taken, and that the principal allegedly closed the case by falsifying the attendance records to show that Jainal was only absent for two months.

Shortage of 4,000 teachers

In the meantime, Teo admitted that the ministry was facing a shortage of teachers in urban and rural areas, where for primary schools alone, 4,000 teachers were required.

“The challenge we face is that we need to wait for five years for one batch (of teachers to graduate), meaning that a potential teacher today would have entered the institution of higher learning five years ago.

“So we need to have more accurate projections of required manpower to ensure the number of new teachers we train is equivalent to the number of vacancies or teachers who are about to retire.

“The lack of teaching staff is a decades-old problem which has yet to be solved.

“Therefore, we also aim to call for a meeting of all related parties to examine the problem from all possible aspects so that we can have the best long-term solution,” she said.