Photo: Alex Denham

KAPIT — Teachers posted to the remote interior of Sabah and Sarawak and a few Orang Asli villages in Kelantan and Pahang may have to attend an orientation course before relocation, Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said here.

He said the course, of one or two weeks’ duration, was basically to prepare them for the tough life ahead in such places.

Speaking to reporters after meeting teachers here last night, he said experienced teachers would be invited to conduct the course.

“We want those posted to the deep interior to know the many challenges and shortcomings facing them. In other words, we want to prepare them for any cultural shock.

“They will face problems like inadequate quarters, absence of treated water and power supply and such. They need to know how to mix with the local community or how to deal with any attitude problem of their students,” he said.

Dr Puad said there was a possibility that the programme, similar to the practice in Australia for teachers sent to the outback to teach among the aborigines, would be implemented soon.

On another matter, he said the ministry was restructuring vocational education nationwide.

“We plan to turn 62 of our 68 technical schools into vocational schools by 2015. This is being done in stages. So far, we have converted the SM Teknik Keluang and SM Teknik Patu Pahat into such schools,” he said.

Dr Puad said the rationale was for vocational training to become mainstream, like the conventional academic stream.

“We want to help the government achieve its high-income society objective by producing more people with high vocational skills.

The emphasis will also be on entrepreneurial training, and the students will be given on-the-job training and exposure to the commercial world, as was being done in Finland,” he said.