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School CP - July 1996

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The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 30 July 1996

Malaysia ponders caning

New Zealand is not the only country concerned about student discipline and how schools should handle the problem.

Malaysia is also worried to the point where it is considering rescinding a 1983 decision that prohibits teachers from using corporal punishment.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes the ban has had an adverse effect and says his ministry is receiving an ever-increasing number of reports of unacceptable classroom behaviour.

"Discipline among school children has deteriorated badly ever since teachers were forbidden from being able to cane those who misbehaved," he told the "New Straits Times".

The head of Malaysia's national teachers' union agrees. "Students have become increasingly unruly because they know it is an offence for teachers to touch them," said the union's president, Abu Baka Shawkat Ali.

The ministry has invited parents to give their views on the possible return of the cane to the classroom before a final decision is made later in the year.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Singapore, where the use of corporal punishment has never been banned, reports "very few" incidents of student misbehaviour.

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