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School CP - July 2009

Corpun file 21447

New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 4 July 2009

Caning can still be carried out, says Wee

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KUALA LUMPUR: Is caning still allowed in schools? Yes, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

This, he said, was provided for by the Education (School Discipline) Regulations 1959.

However, he said, the caning must be carried out in a confined area; the parents of the student had to be informed, and, caning must only be for a repeated mistake or very serious offence.

"We don't encourage caning for primary students, but caning is allowed at the secondary level by the principal or a person to whom he delegates the power to," said Wee.

On whether girls could also be caned, Wee said: "So far girls are not allowed to be caned.

"We are a ministry, not a prison. Enforcement alone will not solve a problem.

"You must remember that education covers everything, including counselling."

In 2006, the Education Ministry banned public caning in schools after the Education Regulations (Student Discipline) 2006 came into force.

It was reported in March that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry was working on improvements to the Child Act 2001, which included abolishing caning and incorporating community service.

This is to conform to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of which Malaysia is a signatory.

Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the ministry recommends the use of positive methods to discipline children as opposed to caning.

She said approaches that would have positive effects on children's development and encourage good behaviour should be used to discipline children.

"We cannot expect children to correct their behaviour over-night. We should focus on methods of discipline like counselling and community service which can instil new values and skills."

Asked about this conflict in views, Wee said: "I think our two ministries can sort out any outstanding issues. Whatever we do, we will do it together as a collective government."

Copyright 2009 NST Online. All rights reserved.

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