PETALING JAYA: Teachers nationwide are opting for early retirement for a number of reasons.

Some just want to take it easy after more than three decades of service, while others have opted out due to personal, medical and workplace reasons.

A teacher who only wanted to be known as Ainun said she could no longer cope with the system.

The English teacher is in the midst of filling up forms for the early retirement option, three years shy of her compulsory retirement.

“Every time a new leadership at the ministry is appointed, there will be changes to the system, which is fine if we are given the support we need as teachers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.”

She claimed that the teachers’ burden and workload are rarely taken into consideration when changes are implemented.

“There were times when teachers themselves were not informed of changes or new programmes.

“In addition to this, we are inundated with so much unnecessary paperwork.

“Almost every programme or activity we want to do requires paperwork. Why?” asked Ainun, who teaches in a secondary school in Selangor.

With 31 years of service, she said the endless paperwork and administrative tasks had overtaken her core duty as an educator.

For retired English teacher Sheila V., osteoarthritis was her “official reason” when she opted to retire early at 55 in 2015.

Sheila, who taught in a secondary school in Kuala Lumpur, said in addition to her medical condition, she could not cope with the problems in the schooling system.

“Classrooms were just too packed with about 40 students per class.”

She preferred smaller classrooms, saying that this would be more effective as she would be able to pay closer attention to each student.

“We voiced these concerns during meetings with various administrators in the ministry but it did not amount to anything,” she claimed.

G. Suan, who retired three years before turning 60, cited personal reasons for wanting to retire early, saying that she needed to look after her late husband’s business.

At 57, she felt she could not juggle the responsibilities of teaching her students while trying to learn the ropes of the disinfectant business.

“I love teaching but I didn’t want to neglect my duties towards my students while trying to understand what my husband’s business entailed,” she said.

Suan added that leaving the profession was a difficult decision for her.

On Monday, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Wang Heng Suan was quoted in a news portal as saying that over the past few years, the union estimated that about 10,000 teachers had submitted their applications for early retirement annually.

These figures, he said, were in addition to teachers who were leaving the service on mandatory retirement.