I saw on tv a moment ago about how a government backbencher questioned the Deputy Minister of Education about the possibility of bringing back Public Caning in schools and the 'learned' Deputy Minister answered about having to consider various acts and conventions pertaining to minors. So clever, but wait a minute.
Reports about gangsterism, hooliganism and vandalism and utter shameful behaviour of our students have been hotly debated for many-many years now. Much have been said and many so-called studies have been made so don't tell me, it had not crossed the minds of anyone in the ministry to look into the acts and conventions mentioned by the Deputy Minister?
Why still give stupid answers like we have to seriously consider this and that to a question that is not new. If it is a new phenomenon I could buy it but this damn thing have been debated for far too long. Please me Deputy Minister, tell us something new.
Now back to the question asked by the MP. Should Public Caning be brought back to Malaysian schools? I was surprised, no, not disappointed, just surprised, by NUTP's reaction to this suggestion. They don't seem to be in favour of this call. Come to thing of it, I could understand them because this would invite hostile reactions from many parents who incidentally couldn't make out an angel from a devil.
Speaking as a teacher who has gone through the public caning days and comparing it to what we have now, I don't thing its a good thing to go back in time. Yes, public caning were a deterrent back then and that is because most parents could accept the fact that their children need disciplining. Things have changed much since then. Parents nowadays don't take too kindly to their children being punished in schools.
Anyway, I am not against caning, but I have my reservations with public canings. If the MP had called for teachers to be given greater powers to cane students, I would agree. I know not many parents would agree with me, but then again they are not teachers. We don't use the cane just because we like to cane. Its not like we get up one morning and eagerly dress up to school just to
go whack a few arses. Who wants to do that? We are not crazy people you know. We don't go beat up some karate referees for no reason you know.
One weakness in the system that contributes to the worsening of the students discipline is the appointments of headmasters/headmistresses and principals. A person is appointed the head of a school based on seniority and contact and merit plays no part in promotions whatsoever.
A person may be senior but lacks the quality needed. A person with contacts is worse. He or she only knows how to suck up, not lead. Go to schools with poor discipline record and the glaring thing that one sees is the quality, or the lack of it ,of the head.
Sweeping matters under the carpet is a very common thing because a head who admits to having a lot of problems is deemed to have admitted that he/she is unable to lead and thus would missed the next promotion boat.
Schools are reluctant to suspend and sack hardcore cases. Besides, weak heads being a reason, the inability of officers in the JPN to comprehend school's predicaments is also a reason. We sack someone today and the brat gets admission into another school not so far away and 99 percent of them are back to their pre-sacking ways in a month. Just pay a visit to any school and enquire how many students they presently have who were sacked from other schools and you would be surprised. To top this sometime these students got sent back to the school they were initially sacked from. Now that is not very helpful isn't it?
Back to caning, I am all for a more liberal use of the cane by a panel of teachers, not just any teacher. Why, do you ask? You would be surprise at how effective it could be. Look, we have tried all we could to get the students to respect us but it just doesn't work and anyway we have other work to do you know like teaching? Its not easy to try to act all noble and teach at the same time. Which comes first then?
Well, what is my last line here? Public caning 'NO' caning YES.
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