Caning rules are 'old school'

Caning rules are 'old school'

KUALA LUMPUR - The Education Ministry's guidelines on school caning, which date back to 1959, should be revised to reflect changes that have taken place since then, said the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP).

Its secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said the guidelines, which were based on the Education Rules (School Discipline) 1959 and outlined in a circular dated Oct 29, 2003, were outdated.

"Classrooms, parents and children operate differently now and the guidelines should be modified to reflect this," Lok said at the NUTP office in Kuala Lumpur here yesterday.

A revision of the disciplinary guidelines, she added, should include more creative and innovative ways of handling students who misbehaved.

"I'm sure that if we bring in educationists and psychologists to share their expertise, we can find new ideas to help teachers be more professional and confident about disciplining students," she said.

Recently, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry had said that it was proposing for caning of minors in court to be abolished.

It also clarified that there was no proposal to outlaw the caning of children by parents and teachers.

Lok also advised teachers to be familiar with the current guidelines.

For example, she said teachers were only allowed to cane students if they had written permission from their school heads.

Public caning and corporal punishment against female students are both forbidden.

"Teachers must be clear on the rules so as to avoid any unwanted situations which could cost them their career," said Lok.

On another matter, Lok said NUTP did not approve of teachers in primary schools being directly promoted to the headmaster position.

"Teachers need to go through the proper channels. They must undergo the necessary leadership and management courses as stipulated by the Education Ministry and serve as a senior assistant first," she said.

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