The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) wants to know the status and fate of lecturers and students who will be affected with the shutting down of nine teachers’ training institutes.
Its president, Kamarozaman Abd Razak, was responding to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who, in his Budget 2017 speech last week, said the nine unused institutes would be transformed into polytechnics and vocational colleges.
Kamarozaman admitted that the union had met representatives from the Education Ministry before Budget 2017 was tabled and was in the know that the institutes would be “upgraded”.
“We knew about this, it’s just that we haven’t been called for discussions in more detail,” he told Malaysiakini.
Therefore, NUTP hopes to discuss issues concerning affected students and lecturers in its next meeting with the Education Ministry.
Kamarozaman is however unsure when the meeting will be held, although they were given an assurance that it will indeed be held.
“We want to know whether lecturers affected will be maintained (at the institutes), or would they be transferred to schools and other polytechnics,” he said.
Students' fate unknown
Apart from the fate of lecturers, NUTP also wants to know whether current students at the nine institutes will be transferred or otherwise.
“I expect that they will be transferred to other existing institutes according to their options,” he said.
And Kamarozaman is of the opinion that the other 18 institutes would be enough to accommodate these students.
This is in part due to the reduction in the intake of teacher trainees at these institutes in the past two years.
“Intake of teachers has reduced, so it’s not effective for these buildings to be empty,” he added.
He therefore believes that the move to convert the institutes into polytechnics is an accurate move when it comes to saving on costs.
“The buildings can be utilised and the government won’t have to build other polytechnics which will be costly.
“Instead of building more buildings, only upgrading works need to be done,” he said.
The move to convert the IPGs into polytechnics is set to affect over 1,000 lecturers.
Out of the nine such institutes, four will become polytechnics while another four will become vocational colleges, and one will be turned into a training institute for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) trainers.
With the initiative, the expenditure will only involve RM400 million compared with RM250 million to build a new polytechnic. Thus, approximately RM2 billion will be saved. -Mkini