Malaysia urges teachers to schedule pregnancy


Citing a shortage of personnel, education authorities have urged Malaysian teachers to schedule their pregnancies by a roster system so they would not miss work by taking maternity leave during school periods.

Deputy Education Minister Aziz Shamsuddin was cited by Malaysian newspapers Monday as saying that there was a ratio of 65 percent female teachers to 35 percent males in the national school system and that getting replacement teachers was difficult.

“For example, in a school where there are 53 teachers, 38 are female while the rest are male,” Aziz was quoted as saying. “What if about half of the 38 decide to get pregnant, where will the school find replacement teachers?”

Headmasters and teachers should draw up a schedule where teachers can take turns in getting pregnant to avoid disrupting the education of their students, Aziz said, and time their pregnancies to deliver during school holidays.

Aziz was quoted by the New Straits Times newspaper as saying that “we are not stopping people from reproducing. However, it should be done in a manner that does not interfere with the routine of teaching.”

Aziz, speaking at a ceremony to honor excellent teachers, said that more women were teachers than men because of a public perception that the profession was more suited to women, the newspaper reported.

Malaysain teachers are paid on average between 1,200 ringgit and 2,000 ringgit (US$315 and US$526) monthly, depending on education, seniority and whether they teach at primary or secondary schools.

The monthly per capita income in this Southeast Asian nation is about 1,070 ringgit (US$281). Maternity leave is 60 days per child.