September 23, 2017

Refresher courses for teachers urgently needed

  • Khin Maung Oo
    A teacher is a person whose job is teaching, especially in a school. To do so, he must have a particular knowledge on a subject to teach or share with others. Generally speaking, people love and pay respects to teachers because it is the custom in Myanmar to regard teachers in the same category as the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha and Parents. Teachers have the duty and the opportunity to nurture and train young students into outstanding citizens. In outward appearance, a teacher leads a peaceful and greed-free life. Throughout our life, we have had many teachers and we paid great respects to them. As far as we know, they chose the teaching career because they loved teaching. And, they need not worry about their survival under stable commodity prices. Inflation was a word they seldom heard in those days. They managed to live in peace satisfied with a meager amount of salary, which would be equivalent to the cost of a bottle of purified drinking water these days. In accordance with the saying, “A teacher must be a life-long learner,” they could attend refresher courses conducted by the then Education Departments and spend most of their leisure hours undertaking extramural studies to share their knowledge to students.
    In later years when graduates had been produced as if done from a factory, certified graduates amounted to millions, outnumbering the amount the government could employ. Most of them—especially ambitious boys were interested only in companies which could offer good remuneration, hence many female job-hunters tried to enter the academic circle. Thus, teaching became a female-dominated profession. Unlike those in olden days, the days are gone when a teacher could live solely on their salary. Today’s teachers cannot spend their leisure hours with their families. Before they notice it, they become part-time nocturnal workers, giving door-to-door tuition. Among them, some self-motivated young teachers are trying their best to become elite teachers and to be endowed with excellent skills and qualifications.
    At such a time when we are marching towards a modern and developed federal democratic union, we need enough qualified teachers to teach our students whose numbers will increase as our population increases. Our world is rapidly developing, so we must motivate our teachers to be competent in the subjects they are teaching. If we want our society or our nation to develop and prosper like other developing ones, we must raise the educational standard of our country. As it had been done in olden days, the Education Department should arrange to conduct refresher courses to teaching staff at all different levels. Our authorities should not neglect our teachers or accept incompetence. Our teachers should be qualified and competent in their respective subjects.
    Now, the Ministry of Education is striving for the country to keep up with international standards. We all know that it will take time to do so. But, it should not be delayed, because “procrastination is the thief of time,” as the saying goes. Well-wishing countries from the outside world are now willing to help us, presently. At this time, Myanmar citizens who are graduates of Oxbridge or other world-famous universities should take part in various activities to upgrade our teachers’ abilities, together with Myanmar scholars and authorities from educational fields. Failing that, our teachers and students will still be very far away from learning cutting-edge technologies or innovative ways of thinking as they need to exert themselves with determination to catch up with the rest of the world.

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