Tuesday, May 22, 2007

a pay rise for teacher?

Friday May 11 2007 saw our PM asserting a statement that all 1.2 millions public servants in the country will be promised a pay rise.

10 days later which was yesterday the May 21, we see our PM once again announced that government servants will get a pay rise between 7.5% and 35% beginning 1 July. In addition, the cost of living allowance as reported in
the star will also be increased by 100%. One may wonder why our government may or may not have unexpectedly made such a decision.

The first reason is definitely the increasing living standard and cost of living in the country, particularly in the urban cities. Comparing our country with other developing countries in the world, Malaysia has relatively lower living standard. In a sense, this also indicates that pay or salary received is relatively low as compared to other developing countries, for example Australia. In retrospect, i was paid $15 per hour to pick lychee or sweet potatoes. This however is impossible for anyone in Malaysia to receive such amount considering the fact that they too are taking up the same job. Hence, the decision to increase pay rise for teacher is definitely a wise thing to do in the society today. The current pay today of a beginning teacher is around $1500 is simply not sufficient enough to raise a family. Yet, they should have been smarter EARLIER!

Also, with the increasing price of petrol every year, our government is compelled to increase the servants' pay. It is not surprising to find our friends who are government servants to take on additional job to supplement their low salary. Working with only the government does not allow them to endure the high living cost and the high petrol price. there is a saying in the Chinese culture which says that working with government is like a steel-rice-bowl. It will always be the same regardless of the years pass by. Speaking of additional jobs, most of these jobs offer far more rewards and money to us teacher. If you have read on some comments made by teachers in schools or of other government sectors, most of them opt for 'outside' jobs for some extra money to make up for their family expenses. One friend of mine used to tell me something which shocked me. He said his chemistry teacher used to come to class, asking them to open to Page 45, and start reading. That was it. The teacher however was a totally different person during tuition. It was during the tuition that he really taught him and his friends the 'real' teaching. What made the difference between the teaching in school and in tuition is the matter of money received out of tuition.

Another reason for pay rise according to our PM in Utusan Malaysia is to attract and maintain efficient, qualified, prestigious and motivated servants. This is of utmost importance because we need to appreciate the efforts put in by these servants, and that one way to do so is through pay rise. It should be understood that money should be awarded in relation to the efforts and contribution and amount of work produced. Even employees in private sectors expect their bosses to do likewise. However, this is not always the case in many government sectors in many global countries. Teacher, for example, suffers one of the lowest paid jobs in the world. Society should understand and know how much dedication and commitment a teacher put in to teach not only a class of 40 students in class, but 4 to 5 classes of 40 students. Not surprisingly my friend's chemistry teacher chose tuition as a channel to provide 'real' teaching, which as a result, bring more benefits to him.

One other reason as mentioned by our PM is of the relative increment of income tax in the country. I basically have no knowledge in this field of discipine, hence dare not comment on it. But one thing i do know is that the taxation money government holds must indeed be used efficiently so as not to waste money on unnecessary things. Lately, we heard cases of leaking roof at Parliament House which cost approximately 1.5-2billions of maintainence.

The last reason is not known by many yet. Yet, mamak talk as well as kopitiam talk have started spurring it. And, i was one of those people who participated in this conversation. It's the general election in Penang in this coming July. Not sure if it's for real or not, UMNO in New Strait Times 7/5 voiced of reclaiming the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat from Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Also, they are planning to recapture the Permatang Pasir state seat from PAS. What we can see from here is that our government is pouring in thousands and millions of money to better our society as well as the system in the country, be it education system or other pivotal sectors. Also, the decision for pay rise mark the effort made by our government to appreciate and acknowledge the commitment and amount of work we teachers have put in in developing our students to be holistic and useful citizens in the future.

After all, what will become of students if it's not because of teachers who shape them?


At 12:30 PM , Blogger glo said...

one thought came to me after reading ur well-thought out post (haha.. seems that all the research skills u have acquired have been put into good use :p): it is very interesting in a sense that people are motivated to work harder with a higher pay. if i were to draw a statistical graph, i'm just wondering how wud my curve be? :p hmm. will money and work performance always have a positive r/ship? will money always be the most significant factor to boost performance? i believe there are other factors too, anyway, i digress.

what strike me most from your analysis is about the teacher who becomes a real teacher when in tuition... i'm just wondering: will a pay rise, help the teacher, at all, to be more of a real teacher in school? just wondering :p

the effort of the government is indeed appaudable. yet, somehow, i feel that the root of the issue is the problem of inflation in our country, which is not a small issue. Having learnt economics before, i can't help but think how much will a pay rise one to cope up with the cost of living if we do not achieve a more stable fluctuation in price?

if prices keep increasing (which is happening), how much of an increment in salary will be enough to for one to cope up with these increases?

a pay rise is good, but i feel that it is only a temporal solution. the main root of the issue is to tackle the instability of prices of goods and services...

Over here, i can eat a meal for NZ7.00 and not worry about it increasing in price the next year. Or i can buy my chicken for NZ16.95 per kg and know that next year it will still the same. Maybe there will be an increase, but maybe after a long period of time.

But in Msia, prices just keep increasing. few years back, i cud eat my laksa for rm2.00, but now, it's rm2.80. i wonder next year if i'm back, maybe i have to pay rm3.50 for my laksa. so, if i'm a tuition teacher, i also have to increase my charges for tuition in anticipation of a price rise. and so the students have to pay more, and so their parents will have to work harder and then they demand for pay rise. then ppl think that since everyone got pay rise, so oklar, raise price of goods.


come to think of it, there's this uncertainty in the change of prices which also plays a role in affecting the overall price changes in the whole economy system.

mm, why am i crapping so much here? mm, just a tot lar. it still fascinates me to find out if ppl are more motivated to work better with a better pay... :p for realistic reasons, ya, it's true. hmm, but i just wonder, how much of a pay rise will really encourage better work performance? :p how much of a pay rise will let the teachers feel appreciated? :p

just a thought :p a long one though, sorry...

At 9:26 AM , Anonymous Bengbeng said...

Hello Nicholas,

Recognition and status in deirectly proportional to financial renumeration. With this pay revision, it is hoped that civil servants will be better able to eeke a decent living 'out there'Pay raise for the police n armed forces is especially overdue. I just hope the inflation will not spiral out of control

At 9:28 AM , Anonymous Bengbeng said...

oops ..edit : is directly

At 1:48 AM , Blogger Nicky said...

to bengbeng:
i totally agree with you. And in fact, the salary of a police constable is approximately rm700 which is quite shocking in relation to the kind and amount of service they provide for our society.

To some extent, our government decision to rise the take-home pay of police force signals their initiative to curb the increasing problem of corruption between themselves, and them and law-breaker.

I hope with this pay-rise decision, our police force will continue to improve on their delivery system as well as their effectiveness in contributing to the harmony of the nation.

At 2:34 AM , Blogger Nicky said...

to glo:
The question of whether a pay rise will really encourage better work performance? i guess it very much depends on an individual's purpose or motive of working.

Some people work to aim for better and higher pay rise, while some work to aim for self-satisfaction or self-actualization: to achieve the highest potential of one individual. Often, the latter does not see money as a motivator, but something else, maybe to complement what they've done.

Many historical and famous people have shown such attributes, e.g. Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Michael Schumacher, and Sir Alex Ferguson.

But of course, in this materialistic world, money is undeniably an important source for one to survive. Teachers especially suffer from their low pay to earn a living. This is where the part of them working as part-time teachers comes into play.

Once again, it all depends on the teacher's purpose of teaching. If he aims to earn more money, he would definitely run plenty of work to achieve his aim. On the other hand, if he yearns for greater achievement in students and for self-actualization, money will not be pivotal as compared to work performance.

So, it comes to what teacher wants out of their teaching life.

At 4:23 AM , Blogger clement said...

$$$.. ha ha, well, the things u have with blogger.. resolved?

At 8:47 AM , Blogger glo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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