Look beyond grades when hiring teachers

A teacher has many important roles to play, apart from just imparting knowledge ("MOE cuts back on hiring teachers"; Nov 19).

The basic question is: Why do children need to go to school? Is it just to get the O- and A-level certificates?

I know of many people who have obtained these certificates without going to school - by sitting the exams as private candidates.

The function of a school is to mould a child into a competent adult who can work in harmony with others and be a good citizen.

A teacher has to impart moral values, instil a thirst for learning and exploring and, above all, be a good role model for his students.

The Ministry of Education should keep these values in mind when hiring teachers.

In addition, it should constantly remind trainees and teachers of these important roles. Perhaps their rewards and promotion should be based on these criteria.

Parents, too, have to respect the teachers in these roles, and work together with them for the development of their children's character, and not just focus on good examination results.

Only then can we bring up a generation of young people who will be an asset to the nation.

We need quality, not just quantity, to mould our young minds from school to adulthood.

This should be the next phase of teacher recruitment and training.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)