SMK IJ Convent SPM workshop issue settled, those involved have apologised

KUALA LUMPUR: The Parent Teacher Association (PIBG) of SMK IJ Convent in Johor Baru has pledged to move forward from the controversy surrounding the SPM workshop for Muslim only students held by the school at a hotel in the city earlier this month.

In a statement, the PIBG committee said the school administration had acknowledged that a more transparent flow of information was needed to prevent such incidents from recurring.

The committee had met with the school administration yesterday to resolve the issue and it was agreed that due process in the approval and organisation of the controversial workshop was not followed.

It said that going forward, both parties agreed that the flow of information must be transparent and made known to all across the board.

"The lesson we have learned, as acknowledged by the school principal, is that going forward, the flow of information must be transparent and made known to all, across the board.

"The matter was accepted by the PIBG committee because those involved have apologised," the statement, which was signed by seven of the committee members, read.

To prevent recurrences of similar incidents, the school administration has agreed that all programmes – especially those held outside the school, must be communicated to the entire PIBG Committee right from initial planning stages.

It was also agreed that due processes for the approval, organising and staging of such events and programmes will be forwarded to all PIBG members.

The school administration also pledged to have its WhatsApp chat group to be completely transparent, with guidelines on ethical communication within the group made known to all.

"Finally, in adherence to His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar's call, the PIBG will ensure that all future school events or programmes will be conducted fairly and equally for all students."

The school was thrust into the limelight when a Twitter user, who goes by the handle Anne Louis, had posted a thread claiming that a school in Johor Baru held an overnight SPM examination workshop for only Muslim students, where the school initially said it was only for Islamic studies.

She said it turned out, other subjects were covered as well, and that non-Muslim students were not invited to attend the programme.

The Education Ministry, however, denied there was any discrimination against SPM candidates at the school.

Following an investigation by the Johor Education Department, the ministry said the school had planned a separate examination workshop for students who did not attend the first one on Jan 19 and 20 at a hotel.

The workshop was conducted for 30 candidates who had failed their Bahasa Melayu, History and other subjects.

"The workshops were held separately to avoid disruption to candidates who were preparing to celebrate Chinese New Year," the ministry said in a statement.

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