PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry will implement a special one-off recruitment of 18,702 teachers to address shortage problems in four states, said Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin. (pix)

The application for the special recruitment of grade DG41 education service officers will be opened from July 7 to enable these teachers to be placed in their respective schools, in stages, starting October, he said.

“This one-off and large-scale recruitment of teachers aims to solve the shortage issues in four states, apart from ensuring the implementation of teaching and learning runs smoothly during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said at a virtual press conference on the special recruitment today.

According to him, the states that mainly face a shortage of teachers are Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Johor.

Radzi said the decision to conduct the recruitment drive was made after thorough discussions with the Public Service Department (PSD) and the Education Service Commission (SPP).

He said that the main challenges in teacher recruitment include a lack of candidates from Institutes of Teacher Education (IPG) and a mismatch of subject options.

“Ministry of Education (MOE) needs a number of teachers for certain subjects but the supply of teachers available for these subjects is very limited. On the other hand, the supply of teachers for other subjects may be more than needed.

“Due to this mismatch, MOE faces difficulties to hire new teachers to fill the vacancies,” he said.

Among subjects with teacher shortages in primary schools are English, Sejarah (History), Special Education, Religious Education, while in secondary schools the subjects include Bahasa Melayu, English and Islamic Education.

Radzi said the cooperation between MOE, PSD, SPP, among others, has created a subject option cluster in the recruitment of prospective teachers to ensure a wider supply and enable the selection of qualified candidates for certain options.

“Various appointment methods will also be applied, ie appointments based on a holistic approach, according to current needs to overcome the long-standing shortage of teachers,” he said.

Asked if the special recruitment would prioritise those who graduated with teaching degrees only, Radzi said candidates with other qualifications would also be considered, using a holistic approach.

Meanwhile, Radzi said the ministry is in the final stage of setting up an independent committee to look into procedures in dealing with complaints related to the alleged practice of ‘period spot checks’ at schools.

He said the independent committee would recommend aspects of improvements that needed to be made to the existing mechanism.

“There will be a more comprehensive process in this context, to ensure when such issues arise in the future, we will be able to tackle it in a more structured and orderly manner,“ he said.

Previously, some students revealed the alleged practice of ‘period spot checks’ on female students during the month of Ramadan at schools, claiming that they were also asked to take off their underwear to prove that they were menstruating and could be excused from fasting.