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The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 6 March 2000
School heads 'not taking enough disciplinary action'
PETALING JAYA: School heads are spending "too much time within the four walls of their office" and not enough time helping to discipline students, National Union of the Teaching (NUTP) Profession secretary-general N. Siva Subramaniam said yesterday.
"School heads should make discipline their priority in order to curb student gang activities in and outside schools" Siva Subramaniam said in support of Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad's statement that school heads must investigate and take disciplinary action against students involved in gang activities outside schools.
"It is time we revert to past times when principals patrolled school compounds with a rotan on one hand," Siva Subramaniam said yesterday.
He said that school heads had to be firm and not compromise on discipline.
Siva Subramaniam said his union was ready to help principals by bringing in local and international experts for their suggestions on the issue.
"Principals should not make their heavy workload an excuse for not dealing directly with the issue as it is part of their responsibility," he added.
The NUTP said the appointment of school heads should be reviewed with the addition of this responsibility and that many school heads "need to go for a refresher course on discipline".
SM Catholic principal Lee Kim Tian said that society as a whole must bear the responsibility of disciplining students and not just school heads.
"Students will get involved in gangs whether we keep tabs on them or not," he said.
The one effective thing that schools can do, he added, was to organise enough activities to keep students occupied.
"It is easy to push the responsibility on principals but we are not going to be able to handle the problem single-handedly," Lim said, adding that some parents themselves were involved in gangs.
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