I am appalled to read that yet another teacher has been charged in court for betraying his student's trust in him ("Teacher 'used student as sexual plaything'"; last Wednesday).
The rising number of educators, including those on teaching scholarships, being convicted of sexual misconduct in recent years is a matter of grave concern.
Teachers are not merely transmitters of knowledge, they are also the flag-bearers of morality, and their students' role models.
Committing acts of indecency and harming their students is despicable.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) should look into the root cause of this worrying trend and prevent a recurrence.
Is there a lack of emphasis on ethical values in the teacher training course?
Is work-related stress another reason?
Furthermore, these cases usually surface only after the victims' families make police reports.
Why did the principals and heads of department not know of their subordinates' crimes beforehand?
Do school administrators and MOE officials monitor and regulate teachers' relationships with their students?
On the MOE website, the Teachers' Pledge currently has five clauses.
There should be a sixth, stating: "We will honourably conduct ourselves to the highest moral and ethical standards and impart in our students sound moral values."
Teachers ought to regularly repeat this to remind themselves of society's expectations of them.
Educators are the moral pillars of society, and they must safeguard the integrity and respectability of their noble profession.
Chan Cheng Lin
This article was first published on June 23, 2014.
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