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School CP - December 1998

Corpun file 3246

Straits Times, Singapore, 4 December 1998

Problem school? This is a job for super principal and teachers

High-calibre principals and teachers are being sent to provide leadership in schools with social problems

SHAH ALAM - High-calibre principals and teachers are being assigned to problematic schools as part of efforts to check social problems and crimes involving students, Education Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday.

The ministry also required these personnel to display excellent leadership since they would have to interact with the local community, he said.

"We're adopting a proactive approach. Upon knowing about a problematic or a high-risk school, we'll act ... based on police feedback on gangsterism, drug abuse and the like," he said.

Datuk Najib, who is also chairman of the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation, said it was insufficient to emphasise punishment, including caning, of errant students alone because checking criminal inclinations among teenage students required a more comprehensive approach, he said.

He urged parents to upgrade parenting skills so as to reinforce their role and that of the family institution in checking promiscuity and unwanted pregnancies among youths.

He reminded parents to report to the authorities if their school-going children were victims of extortion, gangsterism or of school-bullies.

In a speech, he also expressed concern that social problems afflicting youths reflected an imbalance between spiritual advancement and physical well-being in present-day society.

In October, Datuk Najib announced that some teachers would be given Auxiliary Police powers in a bid to combat indiscipline in schools.

This would take place once their unions and associations supported the move.

He had said that auxiliary police powers would enable authorised teachers, with the help of the police, to enforce discipline more effectively in schools and prevent crime outside the school area. -- Bernama

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