The government is considering a special incentive for English language teachers in the ‘excellent’ category if they agree to serve in the rural areas.

Deputy Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said even now, English language teachers were given an allowance but the special incentive would be for a different category of teachers.

The deputy prime minister said there were problems with the ministry’s transfer policy due to several factors, so it wanted to provide incentives like living quarters.

“There are teachers who are interested and willing to sacrifice (by teaching in the rural areas,)” he added after opening the delegates’ conference and annual general meeting of the Malaysian School Heads Council, here, Tuesday.

He said this time the government wanted to send out the best teachers to the rural and remote areas based on an existing programme in Australia known as “Teach Australia”, where the teachers there responded to the challenge and given a special incentive to teach in Australia’s remote or interior areas.

Muhyiddin said the ministry would also ensure comfortable living for teachers willing to be transferred to the rural areas so that they would stay on for as long as possible.

“We will select those who are really qualified. They should be in Band 5. Right now most are in Band 2 and 3. The excellent ones make up only eight per cent,” he said.

Muhyiddin stressed that the country needed to produce high quality English language teachers and towards this, various programmes were being implemented and changes made.

The ministry requires about 13,000 trained teachers in the English language to be sent to the rural areas by 2012 when the strategies to improve the standard of English would be implemented.

“This will take time, so we have decided to get the resources from the teacher training institutes, English language graduands from the public and private higher learning institutions and retired teachers. We may also bring in 1,000 foreign teachers as master teachers to guide our teachers,” Muhyiddin said.

For the students, he said, there would be new language laboratories using the best computer software to help them become proficient in the English language. — BERNAMA