When sharing is not caring

Fadhlina: The ministry's duty is to protect children. - Filepic

DO not share news about issues that affect schoolchildren. This is to ensure that students are protected.

Speaking to the ministry’s staff, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek reminded them that their role was to shield children from harm – not cause more damage by sharing things online.

“Many issues involving students such as bullying, fighting, gangsterism, sexual harassment, extremism and vandalism have gone viral on social media.

“We want to prevent this from happening because we want to protect the children. We block (things from being shared) so that our intervention measures or disciplinary processes are not interfered with,” she said during the minister’s annual mandate and briefing session in Putrajaya on Jan 19.

Commenting on a recent bullying case in Sabah that came to light after a video went viral, Fadhlina said the matter was being handled by the state education department.

In the 23-second video, a teenage boy is seen being punched and beaten by his peers. The clip, which appears to have been intentionally blurred, shows the victim trying to defend himself from at least three other students, while others in school uniforms watch the incident. The incident is believed to have occurred in a school in Tanjung Aru.“The ministry will monitor the situation because we do not want local issues such as this to be sensationalised and blown up into a national issue,” Fadhlina said, adding that the identities of students must be protected as it would have long-term effects on their psychosocial well-being.

She also said all complaints, suggestions and views meant for the ministry should be sent via one official platform to make it easier to record and keep track of subsequent actions taken.

These platforms include the ministry’s public complaint management system AduBuli and its customer service counter.

Equal access

Education, said Fadhlina, belongs to all yet there are those who do not have access to it due to multidimensional poverty factors, systemic poverty or demographic factors.

“So there is a gap between urban and rural students, a digital gap, a gap in opportunities, space and empowerment between ordinary students and the disabled, as well as a socio-economic gap that denies our children opportunities in education,” she said, adding that ensuring education equality at all levels was the ministry’s main challenge.

The ministry’s Zero-Reject Policy, said Fadhlina, is based on the need to be humane. This core value, she said, must be used as a guideline to ensure that special needs children are no longer marginalised. They have a right to quality education that is tailored to their needs.

“We don’t want any more of these special children to drop out of school. They have a very important role to play in society and they are able to make a huge impact on the country,” she said.

To ensure these students can attend school, she said the ministry would improve accessibility and mobility infrastructure at learning institutions, and strengthen the teaching and learning, co-curriculum and the development of the students’ potential.

As for the orang asli, she said programmes such as the Special Programme for Orang Asli Children and Chup Badui Sikulah (CBS) are being held to encourage them to attend school, especially the compulsory primary school education.

“The Malaysian education ecosystem must be rejuvenated. We need to get rid of outdated dogmas and encourage a cross-disciplinary approach to science, technology, sports, as well as the liberal and creative arts.

“This will encourage critical thinking, future literacy, high morality and noble character,” she said when explaining the Malaysia Madani concept in education.Edu council ready for action

Edu council ready for action

THE recently reinstated National Education Advisory Council (NEAC), with the main task of looking into the issues of the workload borne by teachers including clerical duties, which has become a critical problem among educators in the country, will be headed by former education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin.

Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said Amin’s vast experience in the sector, combined with the knowledge of the eight other members, would be able to help her steer the country’s education sector.

International Islamic University Malaysia information and technology professor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Fauzan Noordin was named Amin’s deputy.

The council which, she said, would pave the way towards reform, integration and democratisation of education will serve from 2023 to 2025.

The other members are former NEAC member Prof Dr Omar Yaakob, former Institut Aminuddin Baki director Datuk Dr Mehander Singh Nahar Singh, Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL) president and vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Inayah Ya’akub, Alumni Association Of Islamic Education manager Mohd Abd Aziz Mahmud, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Aminuddin Awang, former Excellent Mathematics Teacher and teacher trainer Rusilawati Mohd Salleh, and former SMK St. Mary, Kuala Lumpur, principal Chee Poh Kiem.

Fadhlina said the council would help the minister and the ministry, in general, to obtain professional views from appointed members who had experience, knowledge and expertise in matters related to education.

“Teachers’ workload will be among the main focus areas of the NEAC.

“The issue will be studied before the council submits its proposal on how we can best tackle the problem,” she said on Jan 19.

The council’s establishment is provided for under the Education Act 1996.

The NEAC was reinstated by Fadhlina last month, after it was disbanded when the previous education minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin took office in 2020.

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