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Malaysia to issue guidelines on punishment for students

Education Ministry will issue specific guidelines on how teachers should
discipline students following an outcry over several recent cases that were
condemned as student abuse, news reports and an official said Friday.

Education Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the decades-old
education rules would be amended to guide teachers on meting out appropriate
punishment for disobedient students, The Star and the New Straits Times

The existing rules are “too general” and need to
be amended to ensure “that they are clear to everyone,” The Star
quoted Hishammuddin as saying.

Hishammuddin’s comment follows an outcry after it was
revealed that a teacher made nearly 140 teenage girls squat in a fish pond at a
boarding school on Borneo island last week.

The teacher, 27, who said she wanted to punish the students
for repeatedly throwing their sanitary pads in the toilets, has since
apologized to the students and parents. Education officials have reprimanded
her but will not suspend her.

Hishammuddin said amending the rules would be designed to
guide teachers rather than spare disobedient students.

“This is to protect our teachers. If they follow the
Education Rules properly, there is no reason for things to go wrong,” the
Times daily quoted him as saying.

A ministry official, who declined to be named because he is
not authorized to make public statements, said the rules were expected to be
clarified by the end of the year a move the ministry has been working on since
last year.

Ministry officials did not give any details as to how the
rules would be amended and whether the ministry would continue to allow caning
students for serious offenses such as smoking.

– Associated Press

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