Corpun file 17271
Channel News Asia, Singapore, 26 January 2006
Schools left to decide on students' discipline: Education Ministry
By Valarie Tan
SINGAPORE : Should caning in school be carried out in view of
all students - even in a mixed school?
A recent caning incident at Pasir Ris Secondary School had
parents and students voicing their concern.
Radin Sofrafeelah, Secondary 1 Student, said: "I saw one boy
who was beaten with a cane, a long cane and I feel really sad,
because it was shown in front of everyone. I was scared. Really,
really scared. Because I can feel it in my butt also."
Yeo Lin Xun, Secondary 5 Student, said: "I know the person
who got caned. Maybe it's too harsh a punishment, it's
embarrassing, but it didn't really work for my friend. "
Dahlia Putri, Secondary 3 Student, said: "That's all part of
the school - the need to shape them into good people. And we also
need to teach them a lesson - not to create that offence
Some parents were, however, surprised at the public manner of the
Mdm Habibah, Parent, said: "It disciplines the child. But it
also shames him in front of his friends and schoolmates."
Mdm Lena Rahmat, Parent, said: "My daughter described it to
me. I have no mood to have my lunch, I feel so sad. Then I ask
her how she felt? Scared and very sad."
Mdm Lena, 50, has two daughters studying at Pasir Ris Secondary
A social worker, Lena thinks public caning takes away a child's
self-worth and traumatises those who witnessed it.
Mdm Lena said: "There are some students who really need
discipline but I hope they do it in the office like many other
schools now. I know they do have to cane, but please do it in the
office because these are mixed schools, there are children who
are very sentimental, especially girls."
Madam Lena also suggests that school punishment, can take other
"I guess there's a better way of doing things, like
community work. They can help doing things for the community -
perhaps it will bond them better with the community and they
would understand things better," she said.
In an email response to Channel NewsAsia, the principal of Pasir
Ris Secondary School said public caning is used as a last resort
and is reserved for wilful and repeat serious offences like
vandalism and causing hurt on purpose.
Parents are informed, and pre- and post-counselling sessions are
arranged for the student involved.
One to six strokes of a light cane, on palms or buttocks over
clothes and nowhere else - these are just some of Education
Ministry's guidelines on corporal punishment.
Others include allowing only the principal or a delegated senior
staff member to carry out the punishment at a venue determined by
A Ministry spokesman says as each case of a recalcitrant student
has to be judged in context, it's up to the school to decide on
the approaches that best meet its needs. - CNA/de
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