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School CP - June 2004

Corpun file 13471


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 1 June 2004

Girls are as bad as boys

I READ with interest Dr A. Soorian's letter (NST, May 28), who pleaded for girls to be exempted from corporal punishment. He gave an argument based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi regarding "violence begets violence" and that "passive actions beget passive reactions".

These are mere philosophies. Today, we have to balance between use of force and passive actions.

The world is so violent now and to sit back and act passively towards such events is foolhardy! The writer did not say clearly why he thinks girls should be spared the rod, but I assume he thinks that girls are the "fairer sex" and are gentle creatures to be treated like sweet and gentle roses. Today's girls are no longer like those of yesteryear. If you have been in a classroom you would understand what teachers go through with naughty girls! They are as bad as boys, if not worse. Teachers and school administrators of all-girls and co-ed schools have been at their wits' end trying to find a solution to such female horrors, and asking to cane them may not be too much.


© Copyright 2004 The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 14290


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 6 June 2004

Is caning the answer to indiscipline?

By Anita Anandarajah

THREE former principals -- Puan Sri Hazimah Abdul Rahman, Ramlah Hassan and Hamidah Shamsuddin -- spoke their minds about the controversial subject of caning students.

Hazimah and Hamidah answered with a resounding "yes" but stressed that the "why" should be clearly spelt out to the misbehaving student. "The reason for the punishment must be made clear so that a student understands why he is being punished," said Hazimah, a former headmistress of SM (P) Sri Aman, Petaling Jaya and SM Raja Ali, Kuala Lumpur.

"In my opinion, caning should be carried out by all teachers, and not just the discipline master. The person who is teaching should take responsibility for the child's indiscipline. The discipline master must keep a record of all punishments carried out.," she said.

Hamidah, a former headmistress of SM Padang Tembak, KL said that most teachers have reservations on the subject as they fear the consequences -- slashed car tires, threats from students, etc.

"The idea is not for the teacher to cane out of vengeance. The teacher is not to bring her personal problems into the classroom. Also, investigate the underlying reason for the misbehaviour," said Hazimah.

Ramlah, who used to head SM La Salle in Petaling Jaya, advises that teachers exercise caution in meting out punishment. "If caning is necessary, there should be a clear process. The school's disciplinary board must be consulted and parents must be informed," she said.

"I dislike reactive measures. Caning is an unnecessary reactive measure," added Ramlah. She said that teachers should be self-motivated to take pro-active measures.

Citing an example, she recalled one of her former students, a top national swimmer, had just returned from the Sukma Games with a gold medal when his teacher sprang a surprise test on him. The student swore at the teacher. "When he was brought before me, I congratulated him on his success in sports but told him I did not respect him for losing his temper with his teacher. And I told the teacher that it was not fair to give him the test the day he returned from a gruelling competition," she said.

Both parties apologised to each other. "If you are not streetwise, you may take sides. Injustice will kill a person," Ramlah added.

Corpun file 14288


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 7 June 2004


Caning should not be the answer

I READ with horror recent calls to empower teachers to cane students, including girls.

I conducted a research in three secondary schools in the Klang Valley recently and I was shocked at the manner in which caning was carried out in all three schools.

I saw teachers carrying canes into the classrooms and caning was meted out openly for such offences as not bringing books to schools and not doing homework, in blatant disregard of the strict guidelines provided by the Education Ministry (for example, caning must be done in private only by the discipline teacher and headmaster, with another teacher as witness; caning can only be carried out for certain serious offences like truancy and smoking; the offence and number of strokes must be recorded, etc.). In one secondary school, a young woman teacher kept turning around and grinning at me and the other teachers while she was caning the students.

I believe the psychological damage done to these children is far worse than the physical pain and this damage will surface in later years, as violence begets violence. I urge the authorities to disregard suggestions based on outbursts of emotion by hot-tempered, frustrated, overworked, underpaid and ill-qualified teachers and focus on improving the prison-like conditions in our schools.

Shah Alam

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