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October 22, 2013


Malaysia: Furore over bill to train English teachers

teach-English-in-Malaysia.jpgThere is anger in Malaysia over the vast sums being paid to consultants, including McKinsey & Co and British Council, for the training of English teachers.

After the uproar over McKinsey & Co’s RM20 million bill to draw up the National Education Blueprint (NEB), Putrajaya is in the spotlight again for paying three other external consultants a staggering RM270 million to help teachers here improve their English.

Citing details from a recent parliamentary reply, DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari said the training programme, stretched out over three years from 2011 to 2013, was meant to train a total of 7,500 teachers from 1,800 schools nationwide at a cumulative cost of RM268.5 million or RM89.5 million each year.

The three handpicked consultant firms - British Council, Brighton Education Grpup and SMR HR Group - are each tasked to provide a total of 360 trainers or “English speaking mentors” over the three-year period, he said.

The firms’ responsibilities are divided geographically, Zairil added, with the British Council slotted to provide mentors for teachers in Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak, while Brighton Education Group will train teachers in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Malacca, Johor and Negeri Sembilan and the SMR HR Group will train teachers in Penang, Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Selangor.

“In other words, close to RM270 million is being spent to hire 360 English mentors. This breaks down to RM250,000 a year for each mentor, or an extravagant sum of almost RM21,000 a month,” the Bukit Bendera MP said in a statement here. - See more at: #sthash.YYFFPqxZ.dpuf

Read the full post on The Malay Mail Online.

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This article is fascinating but tends to hold inaccuracies.
Though the Malaysian government commits around 21,000 per month per trainer, the actual three employers pay the trainers close to a third of the claimed monthly amount.
Trainers do get an annual bonus but the winner here is the Malaysian tax office which takes a substantial portion of the bonus.
The British council has a long established history in ESL and teacher training. Brighton Education has connections or roots with academic sources in the UK and is enjoying success with regards to the ESL project aims.
SMR appear to be a Malaysian human resources company with no previous ESL or teacher training history. For SMR an investigative google search highlights constantly the name of the project manager Michael Hughes ( a previous failed competitive bidder for the contract, appointed as project manager working for SMR? which seems to defeat the whole point for competitors bidding for the original contract). Online, ( google SMR project Michal Hughes) previous trainers have raised extensive questions about Michael Hughes and SMR but the employer has not done anything to address the issues.

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