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Disciplinary cases among primary and secondary school students in the country cannot be attributed to teachers being overwhelmed by their workload, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid says. Pic by NSTP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Disciplinary cases among primary and secondary school students in the country cannot be attributed to teachers being overwhelmed by their workload, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid says.

Mahdzir, who is also Padang Terap member of parliament, said the working hours for teachers did not exceed the limit set by the International Labour Organisaiton (ILO), and therefore, could not be blamed for disciplinary issues among students that were said to have been caused by lack of attention from their teachers.

"According to an ILO report, a teacher should not clock in more than 45 hours a week and our teachers do not work more than this limit based on our calculation.

"However, some teachers may carry out tasks that are not within their core duties at school.

"For example, with the existence of online systems, there are teachers who complete their data entry tasks. We can specify the number of tasks related to data entry, on top of their core duties.

"These matters are taken into account by the ministry and we will refine (the teachers' workload)," he told Parliament today.

He was responding to an additional question posed by Idris Ahmad (PAS - Bukit Gantang) who asked whether teachers were overburdened with their workload, so much so, that they did not have time to get to know their students to build their character and curb disciplinary problems.

Commenting further on disciplinary matters, Mahdzir said the issues of most concern among students were gangsterism, drug abuse, bullying, truancy and crime-related activities in schools.

He said to date, some 442 students out of the 5.1 million primary and secondary school students in the country have been expelled due to disciplinary issues.

These issues, he said, were not only seriously discussed by the ministry but also by other parties related to human capital development, and that curbing them would have to involve both the education system and parents or guardians.

"The police, the National Anti-Drugs Agency and the Prisons Department are also involved in tackling disciplinary cases among students.

"I would like to also emphasise measures that we have taken are to prevent students from being expelled. Counselling sessions, for example, are important to ensure that students stay in school," he said.

keywords: Education minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Idris Ahmad, Bukit Gantang, National Drugs Agency, Prisons Department, counseling, drug abuse, gansterism, bullying, truancy, crime, disciplinary problems, workload, overburdened, teachers, expelled, Parliament, Padang Terap

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