An easy ‘A’ for teachersIt’s difficult to hide our disappointment with last week’s detailed plan from the Education Ministry for introducing the teacher evaluation system in March.
It’s been 10 years since the ministry started discussing teacher evaluations and five years since it began operating the system in pilot schools. But the overall picture is still incomplete.
It is meaningful that all 410,000 elementary, middle and high school teachers will be subject to the evaluation, and that they will evaluate each other. Students and parents, who are the main consumers of education, will also evaluate teachers.
But doubt remains whether competition among teachers to excel will result from this system, which is already being criticized as effective in name only.
First, it is important that the evaluation be efficient. To do so, it has to have clear judgment criteria.
When you look at the way it works now, the questions parents are asked are very vague.
For example, “Do you think the teacher teaches students so that information is easy to understand?”
This kind of question will not enhance teacher professionalism, which is what the system is trying to do.
At the elementary school level, parents should evaluate homeroom teachers thoroughly. For middle and high school, parents should have their say on each of the teachers in charge of individual subjects.
Another problem is that when teachers evaluate each other, there is no way to keep them from being forgiving.
Not only should it be compulsory for teachers to attend their co-worker’s open classes but the evaluation system should also be done based on objective judgment.
It is also difficult to understand why the evaluations will not be linked to promotions or wage increases.
The government is not willing to give incentives like extra points and increased wages for competent teachers. Meanwhile, it’s unwilling to kick bad teachers out.
The National Assembly should also speed up the process of legalizing the teacher evaluation system. There is no use promoting the plan in individual cities and provinces.
The National Assembly should pass the related bill before March.
This is the only way to make up for the political mistake of delaying the system for nearly 10 years.