Reinterpreting the excellent teacher program at the school level: policy tensions associated with the incentives and rewards for excellent teachers in Malaysia

Year: 2013

Author: Awang, Faridah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The excellent teacher program in Malaysia, which offers faster promotion pathways for a select group of teachers, has generated tensions while being enacted at the school level. The objectives of the program have created tensions as a result of too many requirements and excellent teachers becoming overburdened in the school. This paper borrows Ball’s (2010) use of the term ‘enactment’ to reflect an understanding that policies are interpreted and translated by diverse policy actors as they engage in making meaning of official texts for specific contexts and practices and interpretation and translation of texts ( Ball et al,. 2011). This paper explores government efforts to reward quality teachers with an incentive package in parallel with the New Remuneration System (NRS) in public service Malaysia (Mokhsein et al,. (2009) and (Terms of reference MOE, 2003).The excellent teacher program has required a substantial commitment from outstanding teachers when it has been enacted at the school level. For excellent teachers, the lack of a specific job description has acted as an extrinsic burden.  Despite this lack of job description, it was acknowledged that excellent teachers were required  to meet, to maintain, and to improve their skills. This paper contributes to critical policy analysis using a Foucauldian theorisation of power  and prominent strand of Foucault’s theory of governmentality  to study networked governance beyond the state and its characterized by a critical focus on power and micro-practices. It’s a tool used to explore the relational between power and control between various level of policy actors at various level of the implementation of educational policy. I propose that there is policy tension as identified through the semi- structured interviews data conducted to various respondents at various level of the policy setting in Malaysia.