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School CP - April 2000
The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 2 April 2000
Aziz: We'll not bring back public caningBy Nick Leong
KOTA BARU: The Education Ministry will not resort to bringing back the cane to counter the proliferation of gangsterism in schools.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Aziz Shamsuddin said public caning as a way of disciplining wayward students was considered "outdated" although it had its merits.
Asked if the Education Ministry would re-introduce public caning like in the 1950s and 1960s, Aziz said:
"We cannot compare the situation now with the 1950s and 1960s because the circumstances are different.
"Students are more easily exposed to influences like from the multi-media," he said after witnessing a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony at the Kada Resort near here yesterday.
Aziz said another objection towards public caning was the attitude of today's parents.
"If we were to implement public canning, the parents will be the first to make protests.
"But if the situation worsens and goes out of control, it will be the parents who suffer," he said.
Aziz said he believed the powers vested in the hands of headmasters and principals in dealing with gangsters in schools were sufficient.
Aziz also said society should not depend solely on the police to fight gangsterism.
"I appeal to all parents and teachers and society at large to help the authorities," he said.
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New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 10 April 2000
Principals and teachers may get policing powers
By M. Jeffri Razali
KUALA LUMPUR, Sun. - School principals and teachers may be given policing powers, similar to that of auxiliary policemen, to counter gangsterism in schools.
This is one of the proposals the police intend to make at their meeting with Education director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Abdullah next week, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Jamil Johari said today.
The proposal is intended for students to feel the ever presence of "police" to deter them from being involved in unhealthy activities.
As auxiliary policemen, principals and teachers will have the powers to detain any student suspected to be involved in criminal activities.
Recently, the Education Ministry announced the findings of its "Gangsterism in Secondary Schools" report, where 30 per cent of secondary schools were classified as "high risk".
The report also stated that many schools did not properly enforce rules and regulations already in place to counter the threat of gangsterism.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Datuk Lee Lam Thye said the proposal was timely as principals and teachers could not cope with incidences of gross indiscipline and gangsterism among students.
He suggested public caning be among the disciplinary measures to be enforced against student gangsters to discourage other students from getting involved in gangsterism.
"I trust that headmasters or teachers won't simply cane any student, but target repeat offenders," said Tan, who is Member of Parliament for Segambut, after a visit to Taman Pusat Kepong, where he was briefed on residents' complaints.
He also said school authorities should hold more activities to keep students occupied.
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New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 16 April 2000
Disciplinary problems in schools are not new
By A. Kadir Jasin
Each time a new person is put at the helm of the Education Ministry, the problem of indiscipline in schools ranging from truancy to vandalism, theft and smoking makes headlines.
I am not saying that it is wrong to stir up media interest and grab the headlines. Headlines are important. They can be a useful wake-up call. But headlines alone will not take us anywhere unless serious actions are taken.
Indiscipline in schools, including gangsterism which made headlines in the last few days, is not a new thing. What is new is the nature of the problem and how it is best handled.
I don't think what is happening in schools today is gangsterism in the true sense. Properly tackled, it may turn out to be a passing phase where groups of boys and girls get together to do things they watch on television.
Of course, some criminal elements like extortion, fist-fights and thefts may have taken place. But sending in the marines to blow the teenagers to smithereens is not the answer. Neither is making the teachers policemen (or policewomen as the case may be) as some had suggested.
Teachers have enough power and authority to handle such a problem. It is not an acceptable idea to turn our country into a police state each time there is a sign of trouble.
The answer lies in the parents and teachers being more responsible. I had come across parents who told their children of the evils of smoking when they themselves were hidden behind the thick smoke of their own cigarettes, and of parents who warned their children of the dangers of intoxication as they themselves slurred away under the influence of alcoholic drinks.
And there is to me nothing more sickening than parents who tell their children to work hard and be industrious when they themselves spend endless hours watching senseless TV dramas and game shows.
Too many parents leave their children's education and upbringing to the teachers. Sadly teachers generally are overloaded with work, and some are not exemplary parents. If they are not good parents to their own children, how can they become parents to a class of 50 impressionable children?
Unfortunately, more people are good at breeding than parenting. It may serve the teaching profession well to equip teachers with knowledge of psychology and parenting skills.
THIS brings me back to St Michael's School in the 1960s when the Roman Catholic sense of discipline and responsibility did a lot of good to even the most indisciplined students.
Those were the days when Brother Supervisor was the terror and public caning was not the worst kind of punishment. For really serious disciplinary problems, you could be expelled or even be sent to the dreaded Henry Gurney School in Malacca.
The school was often referred to as sekolah budak jahat (school for bad boys). Those who were sent there were destined to become outcasts.
Brother Supervisor, who sat above the headmaster, was authorised by the church to administer discipline and set educational standards.
I was once caned by Brother Supervisor for failing mathematics three times in a row. It was out of mercy that I stopped suffering monthly caning for failing the subject.
In return I was made to clean the students' toilets and water the dusty assembly ground for two weeks. It was then that I learnt not to tolerate dirty toilets and tuftless fields.
ONE of the most dignified and memorable public caning ever to be carried out during the years I was at St Michael's involved one Mohamad Abu Bakar and the headmaster, Charles Alexander Westwood.
Mohamad was one of those agitated and belligerent students. He loved wars and valour, and went by the pseudonym General Ramon Torres. Those were the days when generals ruled half of the world's nations.
It happened when we were in Form Five and several Regional Training Centre trainee teachers were sent to our school to do their practical. One of them was Ku Faridah who was not a year older than us.
We were young and love was easy. Several boys immediately fell head over heels in love with her -- or so they thought. They offered to carry her teaching materials, books and bag. They bought her drinks and wrote poems in praise of her.
One of them was Mohamad and the other was Ahmad Rashid, the head prefect. One day, when Mohamad was away, Ahmad and several others took photographs with Cikgu Ku Faridah. Mohamad got to know about it, blew his top and punched Ahmad in the face. He was tried, found guilty and sentenced to public caning at the school's weekly assembly.
Mohamad's relationship with Westwood was more than that of a student and teacher. They were friends. Westwood had learnt to accept Mohamad's pranks and indiscipline.
Before carrying out the punishment, Westwood whispered to Mohamad that he had to carry out his duty. Mohamad responded, saying: "Carry on, sir."
After the punishment was carried out, Mohamad shook Westwood's hand and thanked him. Westwood died of old age several year ago, Mohamad retired from the commando unit as a captain and Ahmad went on to become a lieutenant-colonel and received the armed forces' highest award -- the Panglima Gagah Berani -- for valour.
He died several years ago in a road crash while commanding a commando battalion in Kuala Kubu Baru.
Those days parents did not attack or sue teachers for disciplining their children. And teachers willingly played the role of parents and guardians.
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