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Brothers and sisters in the Union, and my fellow teachers in Sarawak. Let me first congratulate all the STU Principal Office bearers for the year 2020-2022 for being elected to their respective positions in the just concluded Biennial Delegates’ Conference. My thanks and gratitude go to the immediate past President, Bro Macky Joseph for his leadership for the past term in office.

The year 2020 has been a very unpredictable journey through the Covid-19 pandemic, anti-government protests and many more difficulties that have made living life quite tough for people across the globe. But as we end this year, we should all accept the fact that with every passing year, one should leave behind the unpleasant memories and mistakes. So, as we embrace the upcoming year, 2021, let us all be positive and cheerful with magnificent spirits and aspirations for the future. We should pledge to not let the negativities affect us in looking forward to the future and working hard to achieve our dreams and ambitions. So, let us all embrace the new year with much-needed hopes and happiness.

Let me also congratulate all the teachers, especially members of STU who have served tirelessly throughout 2020. The teaching and learning process has not been easy as we all embarked on the new norms of teaching. Teaching from the classroom right to the living rooms of our pupils and students has changed the education climate around the globe. Teachers are no longer present in the classroom but in the houses of our pupils, teaching via the e-learning modes conducted through Google Classroom or Google Meet. Students interact with their teachers through computers and mobile phones hence the issue of expenses incurred through purchasing of internet data by both teachers and students became a debate among teachers, parents, politicians and the general public. However I am proud to note that through all these challenges, we have never given up on our students and continued to reach out to them as much as possible through all available channels. We managed to conduct lessons and examinations successfully in 2020 and we hope that the quality of education has not been compromised in the process.

STU will continue to work closely with the government especially the Ministry of Education Malaysia in implementing effective policies for the advancement of education in Sarawak. STU will also work closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Sarawak (MESTR) in implementing projects and programs to elevate the quality of education in Sarawak. We shall look into the challenges faced by our members in schools throughout the state and I hope members could also communicate with us in STU HQ pertaining to their suggestions on how to improve the situation in the schools especially on the teaching and learning practices as well as teaching via the e-learning modes.

I would like to urge all members to continue to be creative and innovative in preparing lessons for the students. We have to upgrade ourselves with the current teaching practices as well as quickly adapt to the e-learning tools. The situation requires all of us to be more resilient towards new working styles and environment by turning all our challenges to our advantage through compelling Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility (VUCA). We need to have the core ability to know “what we want to be” and “where we want to go” at all times and at the same time being open to multiple options to reach our goals. This is our challenge as members of STU as well as being teachers.

Brothers and sisters, always have your students close at heart and remember that they are very much dependent on us teachers to ease the learning process and make learning a more bearable activity during the pandemic. Do share our concerns with the parents as well so they can be aware of the circumstances faced by us and their children. Always keep the communication channel with the parents open and collaborate on matters beneficial to both parties. I believe through STU, we could overcome obstacles ahead of us if we pool our resources together, work collaboratively with our partners - the PIBG - and all relevant authorities. Education is everybody’s responsibility and we can’t have a weak link in our chain if we want to ensure success in education.

Lastly, let me end by saying:

Here’s to a bright New Year 2021 and a fond farewell to the old;

Here’s to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.

Life is not about possession;

It is about appreciation, new hopes and aspirations.

Happy New Year 2021

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