Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Extremely high standards at MOE!

Looks like the shortage of teachers is a Singapore myth. MOE has many highly qualified applicants and is in the position to choose the best.

Here's a letter by someone rejected by the MOE. Oh what a whiner! Doesn't he understand the high standards we have at MOE. Even an acclaimed playwright who has straight As for his 'O' & 'A' levels...winner of Prime Minister's book prizes, National Arts council's prestigious Young Artist Award, well loved by students and the principal does not qualify for the position of relief teacher these days.

Looks like MOE has extremely stringent criteria for selecting teachers even relief teachers.

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July 2, 2007

NZ-trained teacher rejected due to his age?
I READ with interest the letter 'Is there a shortage of school teachers?' by Madam Jenny Sim Siew Hwa (ST, June 21). I moved to New Zealand in 2000 and trained as a secondary teacher there to teach physics, science and mathematics.

While in New Zealand, I taught physics and science in an all-boys school as well as a co-ed school. Recently, I decided to return to Singapore and applied for a teaching position with the Ministry of Education (MOE). An interview was arranged and I returned to Singapore during my term break last April. I was surprised the interview panel did not even realise I was teaching overseas and as such had an overseas address.

Later, I received a letter telling me I was unsuccessful in my application as 'the crop of applicants were of a very high standard'. Looking at my teaching qualifications, teaching experience and testimonials from principals and heads of department I worked with in New Zealand, I was disappointed.

In New Zealand, I would be snapped up as I teach a specialist subject - but not in Singapore. On the one hand, I hear there is a shortage of teachers but my experience is that MOE does not seem to realise that.

It makes me wonder if overseas teacher training qualifications are recognised.
Or is age a barrier? Incidentally, I am 50 years old. I have read about how Singapore wants to encourage the elderly to remain in the workforce and thought my work experience would be an advantage to my teaching as I can bring relevance into my lessons.

On its website, MOE encourages mid-stream career change. Could it make its criteria clear?
The teaching profession has been undervalued and MOE is not helping to improve its image. In general, the mindset of employers in Singapore has to change to realise that middle-aged employees bring in more skills than are taught in theory. As part of the workforce that has contributed to what Singapore is today, I am disappointed and may return to New Zealand where I am better appreciated.

Cheong Kam Seng
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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

i must laud pap for their excellent efforts in moulding and shaping the young minds.

see, no ex-sg-cum-sg-wannabes to pollute the classroom air with his ideas of democracy and civil rights or simply overseas living experiences.

no gay book-prize winners to convert the students to homosexuality either.

way to go, pap!

Anonymous said...

This is common in almost every government organizations including the university. No matter how good is your experience and performance, if someone on top in that organization does not like you for some reason, you will not have the opportunity to contribute. Dirty office politics comes before individual's value in contribution. What these top people want are those 'yes' men/women and they never consider what good is for the organization. This is the unique Sinkapore culture. This explains the need to cover up and suppress such voices. It is just a matter of time cultural revolution has to take place?

Anonymous said...

This is common in almost every government organizations including the university. No matter how good is your experience and performance, if someone on top in that organization does not like you for some reason, you will not have the opportunity to contribute. Dirty office politics comes before individual's value in contribution. What these top people want are those 'yes' men/women and they never consider what good is for the organization. This is the unique Sinkapore culture. This explains the need to cover up and suppress such voices. It is just a matter of time cultural revolution has to take place?

Anonymous said...

Mr Cheong should go back to NZ if he wants to continue teaching. MOE should not accept people like Mr Cheong as our primary school teacher because his NZ style of teaching will influence our young children and as a result these children will grow up demanding for western style democracy that we were told this land cannot afford to allow. There will be social riots in our clean streets if we have western style democracy. Surely, Lucky Tan would not like this to happen for disrupting his shopping. MOE has done the right thing to reject Mr Cheong to be the school teacher.

LuckySingaporean said...

Anon 4:41,

I'm very happy with our MOE using such stringent criteria to weed out people like Alfian & Cheong who apparently cannot meet their standards for various reasons.

We must constantly guard against bad influence such as those dealing with alternative ideas about marriage even though will probably kept private and not taught in the classroom....those singaporeans who spend too much time overseas and hence picked up inferior concepts such as democracy, welfare and human rights that will hinder our progress towards top 1st world status....these people are not fit to teach our children.

Anonymous said...

Why Mr Cheong bothers to return and becomes our school teacher? We have university professor, not school teacher, who is a victim of dirty office politics, left for NZ and became well-respected professor in a NZ university. There is no room for people like Mr Cheong or that professor here in Sinkapore because all who are in those top positions have their own agendas. No one working in any government body will dare to speak up against victimization if one still wants the job. Mr Cheong should return to NZ where he will be respected as an individual and as a school teacher. Mr Cheong will be further disappointed if he is allowed to teach in Sinkapore school.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. victimization and harrassment are common in Sinkapore. Sad place in 21st century and yet wanted to be 1st world country. How could Sinkapore model be successfully marketed to other 3rd world countries? It is really an insult to mankind such model is adopted replacing better western democratic model. Do not forget western democratic model takes many generations to evolve. Sinkapore system is probably like a western system in 18th century. In fact, some practices here more like those in ancient China.

Anonymous said...

there's a saying out there - you hire people bigger and better than you are, you'll become a company of giants.

while we turn away capable locals who can teach, this so-called shortage would give the MOE the bigger reason to hire foreign talents as school teachers - so that our kids can have proper English pronounciations.

Perhaps if Mr Cheong highlighted the fact that he speaks English with a good NZ accent, he may have gotten the job.

My opinion is by no means xenophobic - just possibly a theory, from observation. I support good English articulation in schools. we have to sound like angmohs to compete with them.

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