KUALA LUMPUR: Serious action will be taken against any school that discriminates against students, says the Education Minister.
“We won’t let this happen ever again in our education system,” Fadhlina Sidek said, adding that the issue involving a Muslim-only SPM workshop for students of a girls’ school in Johor has come to an end.
The SMK Infant Jesus Convent Johor Baru principal and parent-teacher association chairman had apologised to attendees at a special meeting recently, The Star reported on Tuesday.
“We worked with the state education department and have solved the issue peacefully with the parties involved,” Fadhlina told the media after launching a National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) seminar at a hotel here yesterday.
In her speech, she stressed on the need to bring back “character education” in schools, and reminded teachers that both they and their students need to have a good attitude.
She said that the aspiration of ‘Anak Yang Baik Lagi Cerdik (ABC), which is aimed at emphasising soft skills to inculcate good manners, morals, and integrity among students, has to be an example for everyone.
“Teachers have to embody this aspiration and apply it with their students and the community around them.
“If we were not so focused on being keyboard warriors, we could have done so much more,” she said, before reminding teachers that while the ministry welcomed constructive criticism, it has to be presented respectfully.
“There will be disagreements and differences of opinion but there are proper channels to voice it out.”
On a separate issue, Fadhlina said her ministry was now focused on solving the nationwide teacher shortage.
“Before school reopens, 50% of vacancies for teachers in Sarawak will be filled.
“Now we will work on filling up the vacancies in other states.”
On the recent Semporna jetty collapse in Sabah, she said the safety of students was everyone’s responsibility.
“The ministry provides life jackets for students and teachers, but everyone must play their part to advocate for child safety,” she said, adding that the ministry was looking into alternative routes that are safe for these children to go to school.
On Jan 30, teachers came to the rescue of about 20 primary school pupils who fell into the sea after a wooden jetty collapsed at Pulau Pababag.
NUTP president Aminudin Awang reminded teachers to be mindful when commenting on social media.
“Do not use social media to channel your complaints about the education system as disciplinary action can be taken against you,” he said in his welcome address.
During the event, Fadhlina also presented a mock cheque of RM351,046.72 to Tong Chee Kong, the husband of NUTP member Lai Lee Koon.
Lai and their son Kai En were among 31 people who perished in the Batang Kali landslide on Dec 16 last year.