The government intends to restore the role of Kota Bharu Teacher's College (KBTC), now known as Kota Bharu Teacher Education Institution (IPG), as a place to train teachers not only from Malaysia but also in the Southeast Asia region, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (photo, above).
He said IPG Kota Bharu was one of the oldest teacher training institutions in Malaysia and in its early years also trained teachers from Brunei and Singapore.
“Now, under the new government administration, KBTC’s role of training teachers not only from Malaysia but also in the Southeast Asia region will be reinstated.
"I really hope the glory of KBTC will increase," he said after the opening ceremony of the ex-KBTC reunion in Kota Bharu today. Also present was Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
Asked when KBTC would start training teachers from the Southeast Asian region, Mahathir said: "As soon as possible."
The prime minister said KBTC was a teacher training college for teachers from England and at the beginning of 1952, most of the lecturers and principals were from England.
According to him, KBTC is directly linked to the leading Teacher Training Centres in England, namely Brinsford Lodge and Kirkby.
Speaking of the role of teachers in the development of a country, Mahathir said Malaysia was able to develop rapidly and successfully after achieving independence which was largely due to the contribution of teachers.
After parents, teachers are the forefront in shaping a society that will then guide the nation, he said.
“This shows the responsibilities and roles of teachers are dynamic and requires them to be versatile and adaptable under any circumstances.
“Suffice to say, the rise and fall of a country are in the hands of teachers," he said.
At the event, Mahathir also launched ‘Jasamu Dikenang’ fund aimed at helping KBTC members with health problems.
"Supporting and donating to this fund is one way we can express our appreciation for their sacrifices," Mahathir said.