22 July 2007

Image of teachers at stake


KOTA KINABALU: The image of the teaching profession is at stake following the harsh punishment meted out to secondary students of a boarding school in Sibu.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he viewed the incident seriously as it would affect the image of the profession.

"We will not compromise on discipline, irrespective of whether they are wardens, teachers, students or education officers," he said after attending the Sabah zone teachers’ training institute’s convocation here yesterday.

The ministry will investigate claims that 200 students were forced to squat in a murky fish pond as punishment for throwing a used sanitary pad into the toilet bowl.

Sabah Assistant Minister in charge of Education Datin Fatimah Abdullah said, "It is not right for the warden to do that.

"Squatting in murky water is definitely not listed in the school’s guidelines on enforcing discipline."

Meanwhile, Sarawak Tea- chers’ Union president William Ghani Bina described the punishment as "overboard and dangerous".

Though in principle it was good to discipline students, the punishment meted out was excessive and could pose a health risk to the students.

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