I CAN quite understand the frustrations of T.L. Tuah and other teachers who failed their Penilaian Tahap Kecekapan (PTK) examination for government employees ("Teachers need a better system" -- NST, July 16).
I have gone through three rounds of PTK exams since 2003. I passed the first time and I obtained a salary increment. I do not remember spending a lot of time studying for the exam. All I did was answer the questions according to my experience as a teacher.
In 2005, I took the DG44 PTK exam again. Those who attended the course had no one to refer to for the assignments. We had only three weeks to do them and we had no idea what was required of us.
Nevertheless, my colleagues and I travelled to Penang to sit for the exam. The questions in the exam were all application questions, which only required us to relate to our classroom experience in teaching the students. We did just that and most of us obtained a Level III pass and promotion to DG48 in 2006.
I am also thankful that we were given a PTK exam briefing organised by the state education department. I sat for the exam with the understanding that it was a measure of our competency and not our knowledge.
True enough, the final course exam questions were all application questions. Experienced teachers who have been exposed to various duties should not have much problem in answering them.
I obtained perfect Level IV for the DG48 exam when the results were announced two weeks ago.
I must reiterate that the PTK exam is not based on theoretical educational knowledge. It is only a yardstick to test our competency as a teacher. All the questions were also related to teaching and how relevant we are as teachers in this millennium.
I agree with T.L. Tuah that there is no perfect assessment formula to determine the quality of a teacher.
However, a caring and hardworking teacher will never lose out in any system. Whether it is an examination system or just assessment by observation, if we do our best, we will surely be rewarded.
I am writing this on behalf of those who have passed the PTK exam. I hope T.L. Tuah and all the other hardworking teachers who failed the PTK exam will not be disappointed or, worse, give up.
Lastly, please do not criticise those who have passed the exam as mediocre teachers. In fact, we are highly sensitive to students' needs and have always worked hard. We are not ashamed to say that we have gained the respect of our colleagues and students and have helped raise the image of the teaching profession.
The New Straits Times Online: 26 Julai 2008