PETALING JAYA: Slapping a student in the face is wrong and the Education Ministry does not condone such an action, says Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon.
He said the ministry had very clear guidelines on how to implement corporal punishment for students with serious disciplinary rpoblems.
“Having said that, we urge parents to solve serious discipline issues amicably,” he added, in reference to the Cikgu Azizan case.
“I must stress again that dragging cases like that to court has serious impact on the teaching profession and it doesn’t solve the issue.”
The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) now wants the ministry to draw up a code of ethics on parent-teacher relations in schools that is needed nationwide to better protect teachers.
NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said the union is giving the ministry one year to draw up such a code.
“If it is not done within one year, we will be forced to hold a peaceful gathering to remind the ministry to do so,” he said after a magistrate’s court gave a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to a 44-year-old teacher for allegedly causing hurt to an 11-year-old pupil.
Tan said the union was now in the final stage of preparing the proposed code and would soon forward it to the ministry.
“The code is one of three things the NUTP wants. A similar code has been introduced in several countries and we want it here too,” he said.
He said that among the provisions to be spelled out in the code were rules that parents would have to adhere to when meeting teachers in school.
“We want teachers in charge of discipline to be given sufficient training including on legal matters,” he said, adding that this was important so teachers could carry out their duties effectively.
Tan said teachers had to deal with serious disciplinary problems such as gangsterism and drug-related issues in school.
Teachers, he said, already faced a lot of restrictions when disciplining a problematic student.
“No teacher would want a student to be involved in bullying, glue sniffing, porn watching or other unhealthy activities,” he said.
Tan clarified that the union did not condone any form of student abuse by a teacher.
“I do not condone teachers who abuse students. We will not protect that kind of teachers,” he said.
In this case, though, he felt Cikgu Azizan was in the right as the local community, including the imam of the local mosque, and parents had asked NUTP to help the teacher.
Tan expressed hope that the community, including parents, would continue to give their support to teachers to instil good values in children.