I REFER to the letter by J.D. Lovrenciear of Semenyih in which he berates the education minister for not being in the know about the private-tuition industry in Malaysia ("Sad reflection of our schools" -- NST, Oct 22).
The ministry is responsible only to see that all tuition establishments conform to regulations. Other authorities are then to see to it that they observe the laws of business enterprise before they are granted a licence to operate. The ministry has no control over the fees charged as this will depend on the market forces of supply and demand.
The ministry regulates the number of hours a week a teacher can give private tuition so that he can still carry out his normal teaching duties effectively. However, the responsibility of ensuring that a teacher teaches properly and efficiently in school is with the principal.
There are many teachers who carry out their jobs professionally and do not teach tuition classes, just as there are many who teach effectively but do teach tuition classes for various reasons. To deny teachers of an opportunity to pursue a part-time job would be unfair, especially when the government is allowing other civil servants to take up a second job to boost their incomes.
In fact, successful tuition teachers who are in demand are usually those who have proved to be successful teachers in school.
You may be able to bluff your students in school if you are a weak teacher, but you cannot bluff those who pay you for help outside of school.
The New Straits Times Online: 24 Oktober 2008