Sahabat Maya :

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A teacher at heart.

A teacher at heart

An educator for more than three decades bids a fond farewell, as individuals who have worked with him share their experiences.

THE words often used to describe Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom are hard-working, patient and gentle.

Alimuddin, 58, retired on Thursday after 34 years in government service — 27 years as a History teacher, senior assistant and principal and the last seven years in various posts within both the Education and Higher Education Ministries.

Alimuddin officiating at his last event on Wednesday when he met the Malaysian contingent who are participating in the World Robot Olympiad in Manila, the Philippines.

His three-and-a-half years as Education director-general was one of the longest tenures as most often serve between one and two years before retirement.

He served in urban and rural schools in Perak and his last posting was as Malay College Kuala Kangsar senior principal before heading to the Education Ministry as Schools Division deputy director in 2003.

“My 27 years in schools helped me when it came to creating policies for teachers as I understand what they need and how they can be effectively implemented on the ground.

“The welfare of teachers has always been important to me,” he shared in an interview at his office the day before his retirement.

Among the changes for teachers that he is happy to see are the increase in the number of promotional posts and time-based promotions.

“The changes includes having teachers and principals who are in the Jusa (Jawatan Utama Sektor Awam) grade as previously these were for state education directors,” he said.

Retired super principal Datuk Mary Yap said Alimuddin will be remembered as a director-general who was proud to be a teacher and believed strongly that teachers are the ones who can make a difference in a child’s life.

“The quality of education has always been one of his main concerns and his consistent call for continuing professional development for teachers and principals has resulted in the respective state education departments playing a more active and significant role than previously,” shared Yap, who now freelances as a training expert and senior consultant in educational innovations and school transformation.

Deputy director-general (Education Operations) Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim thanked Alimuddin for his hard work on behalf of all teachers.

She described Alimuddin and herself as a good team.

“We worked well together as he is gentle and I am tougher. I think that we made a good combination based on our strengths,” she said.

Noor Rezan said one of the things she has learnt from Alimuddin is patience.

“In adversity, he remains gentle and always uses a soft approach and in all my years of serving with him, I have never seen him lose his cool,” she shared.

Thanks to the trust and autonomy given to him by Alimuddin, Institute of Teacher Education rector Datuk Dr Haili Dolhan who is currently in Korea, said he is able to manage his duties and division.

“We have known each other since the time we were in the principals’ association in the 1980s. He is down-to-earth and easy to mix with,” he added.

One of the things deputy director-general (Policy Development and Education Sector) Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof often shares at leadership training programmes is to be “hemoi”.

“It is a Perak Malay dialect term which Tan Sri likes to use to encourage us to come out of our cocoon, that is to be visible, sociable and adaptable and always try to keep in touch with initiatives related to education,” he said.

Dr Khair said Alimuddin believed strongly in team effort, and this was evident in the many round table discussions held on major educational issues.

“Tan Sri always listened and asked for input and never missed acknowledging the good things people did,” he added.

Deputy director-general (Teacher Development Professionalism) Datuk Asariah Mior Shaharuddin said he is supportive of staff and encourages them to work hard.

“Although he is busy all day at the office, he would continue to work at home too,” she shared.

One of Alimuddin’s special officers, Hambali Mohd Noor said no matter how many meetings or events he attended in a day, he always cleared all the work on his desk.

“No matter how high the files might have been piled, he would minute his replies to us by the very next day.

“He would also personally reply all the letters sent to him,” he shared.

Mohd Nasim Mohd Zakaria who was his speech writer and also special officer, said he is very kind and will never refuse to meet anyone who wanted to see him.

“He’s the best boss as he is easy to work with. We are sad to see he is retiring,” he added.

Alimuddin’s personal assistant Nor Asmah Abdul echoed his words, describing him as a good boss who is easy to work with.

“I have worked with Tan Sri for the last three-and-a-half years, and he is nice and considerate and very approachable,” she shared.

Former Malaysian Examinations Syndicate director Datuk Mohammed Zakaria Mohd Noor who dropped by to see Alimuddin before his retirement, said they had known each other for many years.

“He has always been very concerned about teachers,” he said.

Alimuddin said he was touched when a group of 50 staff from the Johor education department went to Putrajaya to see him when he was unable to visit them on his round of farewell visits.

During his time as director-general, Alimuddin has worked on many policies including the National Education Blueprint, Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening English (MBMMBI) which replaces the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, the abolishment of the Penilaian Menengah RendahSijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), making History a must pass subject in order to obtain the SPM certificate and expanding opportunities for students to take up vocational studies. (PMR) to a school-based assessment, the 1Student 1Sport policy, the change to a maximum of 10 subjects for the

On the MBMMBI, Alimuddin urged parents to give the policy a chance.

“This policy will start next year for all Year One pupils nationwide. The ministry has trained the extra teachers needed.

“The 375 native English speakers which was announced in Budget 2011, will complement the policy,” he explained. A pilot project had already been carried out.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when tabling the budget last month, said the recruitment of the teachers, including those from the United Kingdom and Australia, was to further enhance the teaching of English.

On vocational studies, Alimuddin said the ministry was working on the rebranding so students would consider it as a viable option.

“By 2015, we hope to increase the number of those opting for vocational studies to 20% as it is presently 15% of the student population,” he added.

On his retirement, Alimuddin said he was pleased and satisfied with his years of service.

“I have had many opportunities from the government and am ready to serve if I am needed in any non-governmental organisation or body related to education,” he said, adding that he would have a short rest first.

He also thanked Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for appointing him as Yayasan Guru Malaysia Bhd chairman.

During his career, he has worked with four ministers — Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, Datuk Seri Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Muhyiddin.

At his farewell ceremony at the ministry on Thursday, Alimuddin thanked the print and broadcast media for their support.

“By working with the media, the ministry is able to disseminate information on many things such as new policies to parents and students.

“At the same time, we can learn what the public thinks through the letters to the editor column in newspapers,” he said.

StarEducation journalists have always found Alimuddin to be approachable, friendly and patient when giving explanations about any question asked either at assignments, face-to-face or telephone interviews and through SMS. He has also taken the trouble to reply questions even when he was overseas.

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