Let teachers focus on teaching

I read about the high turnover rate of teachers with concern ("5,000 teachers leave service over five years"; Oct 3).

What is also disturbing is the implication that the Ministry of Education (MOE) views the attrition as normal and acceptable.

While great efforts have been spent on tweaking our education system to be more holistic for our young ones, and in hiring more mid-career and academically qualified teachers, maybe we have not paid adequate attention to the infrastructure supporting the system.

Reducing the administrative load, and better managing the sometimes unreasonable demands of parents may be easier said than done. A tweaking of the mindset is needed to begin tackling this serious issue.

The main role of teachers is to teach. The system must allow them to spend quality time during school hours to not just teach, but also to think of and find alternative avenues of teaching their charges more effectively.

Being trained to teach is insufficient; given a constantly changing world, where information is available anywhere and everywhere, our children are bringing a different set of challenges to the classroom.

Mostly, they do not just want to be talked to, but to be engaged and to have their learning facilitated in new ways.

This cannot be found in textbooks, and teachers have to spend time to research, network and learn. In effect, they are undergoing an educational journey as well.

If this is the new norm, the MOE needs to move with the times.

Paul Heng