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School CP - August 1997


Daily Express, Kota Kinabalu, 8 August 1997

Action against 9,348 students for smoking in school

KUALA LUMPUR: Action has been taken against 9,348 students for smoking since schools were gazetted as a non-smoking area recently, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Khalid Yunus said Thursday.

The actions taken include expulsion, change of school and caning, he said in reply to a question from Senator Ibrahim Daud at the Dewan Negara.

Replying to Senator Abu Bakar Ismail, he said headmasters have been given the authority to take appropriate action against those who smoke in schools. -- Bernama


Straits Times, Singapore, 23 August 1997

Discipline students or face action, teachers told

KUALA LUMPUR -- Action will be taken against teachers who refuse to discipline students, as it is part of their job, Education Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has warned.

His warning yesterday came amidst a threat by the biggest teachers' union in the country to leave the task of disciplining students to parents and the police.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said on Thursday that it would instruct its 70,000 members to stop meting out corporal punishment to students, no matter how severe their offences, and to concentrate solely on teaching.

Datuk Seri Najib said that it would be difficult for the ministry to accept it if teachers shirked their responsibility of disciplining students.

Bernama news agency quoted him as saying the profession required teachers to play their role in instilling discipline.

He said: "This is clear. Teachers found to have neglected their duties will be held responsible for their negligence. Action can be taken as it is part of their job.

"The union's action is a bit too much as they have gone overboard in their responsibility as a trade union."

The Star yesterday reported that the NUTP made the decision in retaliation for recent events which it said had eroded the dignity of teachers.

Union secretary-general N. Siva Subramaniam said: "We have no choice but to adopt this measure as our genuine concern for the well-being of students and society is not appreciated.

"Instead, our actions are often met with unfair accusations and abuse."

He said that the "no disciplining" move would be carried out after it was endorsed by the annual delegates conference early next month.

On a related issue, he said that the NUTP could not accept the explanation by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor that a probationary inspector who arrested a 33-year-old teacher in a Johor Baru primary school for caning pupils was "raw and overzealous".

He said that the union was upset with the police chief's decision to merely "advise" the officer and not reprimand him for his unwarranted action.

"The irresponsible action of the police officer has not only destroyed the integrity of the particular teacher but has also tarnished the image of the teaching profession," he added.

He also said that the union would not support a move to extend auxiliary police powers to discipline teachers in a bid to check the high number of serious disciplinary problems among students.

Meanwhile, in Penang, the Malaysian Federation of Headmasters Council has decided to boycott health enforcement and auxiliary police duties.

The 7,000-strong council also refused to take on extra duties not listed in the terms and conditions of their appointments. Council president Ismail Yaakop said that the headmasters' main duty was to run schools and ensure that students received quality education, and not to assume the tasks of "enforcement officers".

Commenting on this, Datuk Najib said that as government officers, headmasters must abide by the directives issued, failing which action could be taken against them.

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