August 8, 2011
The directive to key-in examination marks online has not only doubled their workload but the unreliable system is also aggravating the situation.
KUALA LUMPUR: A directive issued by the Education Ministry in its attempt to improve the quality of the education system has not gone down well with teachers.
The directive to key in mid-term examination marks online forced teachers nationwide to stay up into the wee hours of the morning just to get access to the School Examination Analysis System (SAPS) website.
Besides this, teachers were also required to key in marks known as Take-off Value (TOV) and Expected Target Results (ETR).
Speaking on condition of anonymity, several teachers complained to FMT that whenever the ministry came up with a new directive, it increased their workload and pressure.
They also said that the new system had caused “uneasiness” among teachers since each school only had one teacher coordinating the system and he or she must deal with some 200 teachers.
“The coordinating teacher pushes others to complete the task on time, but some cannot complete it on time or simply cannot access the web page,” they added.
‘We have to suffer in silence’
One coordinating teacher based in Petaling Jaya said she received text messages and phone calls from her colleagues as early as 3am who were complaining about accessibility and missing data.
“I have no choice but to attend to their queries, but I myself am not familiar with the system,” she said, adding that some of the frustrated teachers had even raised their voices at her.
Another teacher from Rawang said teachers were overloaded with work as it is, especially during the second half of the academic year because they needed to prepare their students for major exams.
“It’s nothing new that we teachers suffer in silence because we cannot highlight our grievances and have to go through NUTP (National Union of Teaching Profession),” he said, adding that school heads should ask the clerical staff to handle the matter or even hire temporary data entry clerks.
“They should stop burdening the teachers,” he stressed.
NUTP caught by surprise
Meanwhile, NUTP secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said the union was caught by surprise since it was not consulted by the ministry with regard to the new directive.
She also revealed that the union was being “bombarded” with calls from teachers complaining about the issue.
“Most of them lament that the servers cannot cope with the high volume of people attempting to access the website and this causes them much stress because there is a deadline to meet,” she said.
Loke stressed that NUTP was not against the system but called on the ministry to ensure that the system was in order before issuing the directive.
“The workload and challenges faced by teachers increase each day and to burden them with more work will not go down well especially with the examination period being around the corner.
“The idea of improving our education system is good but at same time provide us (teachers) with the right training and tools,” she added.
Dr Noorliza Zaknan, who heads the unit overseeing the improvement drive, acknowledged the problem and expressed regret.
She said the unit was working on improving the servers’ capacity.