Forum: Be mindful of giving teachers too many administrative duties

The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced last week that it will facilitate vaccinations for Primary 1 to 6 pupils by bussing them to paediatric vaccination centres under the School-Facilitated Vaccination Exercise. I read with concern that teachers will help by accompanying pupils for their vaccination after parents have given consent.

A teacher's primary job is to educate and mould a future generation of capable people, but this pandemic has shed light on how teachers are expected to go way beyond their primary duties and take on multi-faceted roles.

There should be a more distinctive line drawn between educators and people who take on administrative duties such as accompanying children for vaccination, as these additional duties could severely compromise teachers' physical and mental well-being, as well as their quality of teaching.

More than 80 per cent of teachers surveyed in a poll released in September last year said that their work amid the pandemic has taken a toll on their mental health (Over 80% of teachers say pandemic has hurt their mental health, Sept 23).

Long working hours, additional responsibilities and unexpected scenarios caused by Covid-19 were some of the issues identified.

Pre-schools are also struggling to cope with the sudden surge in cases as well as constantly changing health protocols (Pre-schools grappling with Covid-19 rules as cases rise, Feb 20).

These are extremely worrying trends, as teachers play a vital role in a child's development and holistic education. We should never take them for granted.

I hope that MOE will pay more attention to the plight of teachers, and work hand in hand with schools to improve their well-being in this challenging period.

Lynn Neo Si Jie

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