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DISCIPLINE: Teachers should be empowered to cane, says National PTAPTA president
KUALA LUMPUR: ALARMED by the rise in the number of disciplinary cases among students, the National Parent-Teacher Association yesterday called for the reintroduction of caning in schools.
While not advocating public caning, National
PTA president Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan said teachers should be given the authority to carry out corporal punishment as they saw fit. He said parents, too, should be allowed to cane their children at home.
“We are not talking about public caning as that would embarrass students, but simply for parents and teachers to exact that kind of punishment at home and in the classroom,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Ali was commenting on the Education Ministry’s intention to set a better Key Performance Index (KPI) by reducing disciplinary issues involving students in schools nationwide.
Deputy Education Minister Dr Puad Zarkashi had said on Thursday that the ministry would not compromise on action taken on disciplinary issues, especially bullying and gangsterism, which he said needed to be tackled seriously.
The number of truancy cases is also high, with the ministry reporting earlier this year that more than 16,000 cases had been registered in primary schools between 2010 and last year.
As for secondary schools, the figure was marginally higher, with more than 11,000 cases registered in 2010 and 10,488 cases last year.
While the ministry gave the assurance that student disciplinary problems were under control, the recent case of a Form Five student being beaten up twice by her schoolmates in Klang is further cause for concern.
The National PTA is now calling for the government to implement reformation strategies, which include caning.
The issue of caning is not new, with various quarters in the past suggesting that it can cause stress and emotional disturbance in a child. Others have said children would only rebel more if caned.
The government banned public caning in schools in 2004, although school headmasters were still allowed to cane students in their rooms with a witness.
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng, however, said caning was not the solution.
“Many parents today are not in favour of the method. As advocated by various NGOs, caning is also viewed as a human rights violation.”
Lok said the leadership in schools must think of more creative and innovative ways to minimise disciplinary problems.
Ali said self-discipline should ideally be practised as a solution, both by parents and students.
“Parents should lead by example, while students must be instilled with a total moral awareness.
“The current strategies to educate them lean towards the outside in approach, when it should be inside out.”
Ali said an effective way to discipline students was to go ahead with plans to make the National Service training compulsory for school-leavers.
“This will give rise to better awareness of nationhood and patriotism among students.”
Ali also said students with disciplinary problems could best channel their “traits” towards the right avenues.
“For instance, these individuals can become a force to be reckoned with if their services are required by the military.”