7 reasons why so many teachers are leaving MOE

A senior teacher who wishes to remain anonymous posted a remark in the form of an essay responding to blogger Roy Ngerng's titled "What Kind Of Education System Do Singaporeans Want To See?" Her views were so penetratingly honest it truly deserved to be archived properly. Here goes:

"1. Disciplinary issues in secondary schools today, in particular, neighbourhood schools have gotten out of hand such that teachers can’t discipline students without being given good faith. This has caused a lot of my young teachers to leave MOE. "

2. Unfair allocation of classes. Some schools designate an unfair mix of all challenging classes to teachers. These teachers suffer emotionally because of this. Burnt-out is common in MOE schools because of overwork. The ministry thinks that since teachers are willing to do more; therefore they ought to be overtaxed more. The situation has denegrated to such a low that many teachers fall ill and take on MCs to recover and regather their strengths. I have taught for 10 years and have seen many schools and my colleagues agree this is a real problem. Imagine handling all challenging NT classes with disciplinary issues. I have witnessed teachers sent to IMH for depression. And this is too common.

3. Principals say there is protected time; however HODs and Principals call teachers back to work during protected when it’s meant for recuperation. Teachers have problems getting rest when they need to as these protected times are not practised but given lip service during term and inter-semesters. Many colleagues come to work at 7 am and leave school at 5.30 pm and still continue marking. There is no equitable delegation of work among teachers and MOE system doesn't capture this.

4. Teachers are often discouraged to do their Masters or further studies by their principals and vice-principals and this professional development is looked down upon as “one’s own personal time”; even though teachers are developing themselves. There is no support among principals. Many of my teachers had to fight to do their PDCM module. MOE HR says one things but principals does another tack. So, many teachers in MOE forgo pursuing their masters as there is no genuine, sincere and real support. In fact, attending other low-key courses is more encouraged.

5. The appraisal system in MOE schools called the EPMS is another part of the system that is tearing the fraternity apart. The systems pits teachers against each other within the same substantive grade and this is a cause of concern among teachers. The MyForum page is a testimony to MOE’s teachers grievances but the ministry continues to turn a blind eye to the unhappiness on the ground.

6. Unfair appraisal, resulting from a spouse and wife being in the same ranking panel of the School Management Committee. This sows discord and unfairness amongst teachers who are under their charge and being appraised. MOE needs to relocate one of their spouse to prevent this unfairness. This is common as many teachers find their mates in the fraternity over time.

7.Impossible and unreasonable marking deadlines and marking workloads during mid-year and end of year marking exercises cause teachers to resign; imagine many of them have to suffer 3 weeks of continuous marking to clear hundreds of essays and in addition, considering teachers teach more than one subject, the immensely tight marking deadlines allocated are just unreasonable.

Afterword: I like to maintain my privacy as many teachers don’t trust the ministry's policies. As it is, teachers’ pensions are removed and they do not have medical insurance covered by MOE. Many colleagues request for early retirement and hypertension and high blood pressure is common among our Singapore teachers.


The Czar (Site Founder)

Dated 8 January 2014


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