The relationship between educational environment and work satisfaction is well recognized and rated as very important for both private and government primary and secondary education teachers in Kuala Lumpur (KL). Besides, private school teachers are usually found to obtain better grades than government school teachers on the same subject. Moreover, the tendency is observed that government school teacher wages are higher than private school teacher wages. On the other hand, the private school teacher wage in Kuala Lumpur tends to be higher than the wage of an assistant teacher. Thus, a lot of research points to the conclusion that educational attainment is the key determinant of a country’s or region’s economic development or progress.
This is also true in the case of private schools in Kuala Lumpur (KL), which have also been confirmed by a number of researches. Private schools in Kuala Lumpur have a much stronger effect on students’ performance in the academic domain than do the public schools. It is because of the organizational climate in private schools in Kuala Lumpur that ensures job fulfillment and job security for the staff members. In other words, the work environment in private schools in Kuala Lumpur is conducive to encouraging healthy competition among employees – between employees. This is the reason why many employees at private schools in Kuala Lumpur enjoy a better work-life balance.
Another important indicator of the quality of the education system and the working environment is found in the students’ need for socialization. The students from both the government and the private schools in Kuala Lumpur, as shown by the numerous researches, show a strong demand for socialization as part of their overall personality development. The students need this so as to be prepared for the changing social environment, both at home and in the classroom. Therefore, it is evident that both the governments in Malaysia and the private schools in Kuala Lumpur have made great efforts in providing socialization programs for their students.
A major indicator of the working environment in both the government and the private schools in Kuala Lumpur is found in the ratio of teachers to students in the primary school. At both the levels, there is a significant difference in the ratios. At government schools in Kuala Lumpur, the ratio of teachers to students is approximately two to one. But at the private schools in Kuala Lumpur, the ratio of teachers to students is approximately seven to one.
The differences in the ratios can be explained only by the different needs of students in the two settings. At government schools in Kuala Lumpur, parents are convinced that their children’s needs are best met by a primary school where experienced teachers can teach basic skills and inculcate discipline in their students. However, at private schools in Kuala Lumpur, parents believe that their children’s needs can best be met through the guided teaching method of local expertise.
While the job satisfaction of teachers at both the levels is high, it is apparent that private schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are able to maintain a higher rate of turnover. This may be due to the competitive atmosphere promoted by the school management in attracting good teachers from overseas. A survey of Malaysian teachers found that most of them prefer the security, perks and benefits of private teaching. Some may find it more appealing to work in a private school setting despite the lower wage offered by these establishments. In light of the increasing cost of living in Kuala Lumpur as a whole, the higher income and job satisfaction ratings might be a deterrent for teachers to move to these facilities.
With the current organizational climate in Malaysia being challenging, many private schools in Kuala Lumpur and other cities in the country are experiencing a higher rate of attrition than their government counterparts. In fact, it has been revealed that a large number of government school teachers have been forced to resign or retrain in the past few years due to salary cutbacks and the rising number of students who are going straight from primary and secondary schools to universities. In response to this increase in the rate of turnover in the teaching sector, several new private schools in Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Malaysia have implemented policies that focus on recruitment and retention of quality teachers. Some private schools in Kuala Lumpur have also introduced a scholarship program specifically designed for teachers with high academic achievement and potential to develop leadership skills and develop a following among other students. These scholarships not only provide teachers with an opportunity to increase their professional development, they also allow them to live and raise families comfortably while working toward the best possible job opportunities.
Private schools in Malaysia continue to excel in the areas of academics and test scores, however they lag behind in relation to primary schools in overall performance. The Malaysian exam, the SSAT is an entrance exam for the secondary schools in Malaysia. In this year’s examination, students from both primary and secondary schools are expected to score above the national average for reading, writing, knowledge, math and science. As the examination results showed, there are a number of schools in Malaysia that can claim to be among the best in the country when it comes to academic performances and student satisfaction regarding discipline and curriculum.