THE call by the National Parents-Teachers Association for the re-introduction of caning in schools based on the alarming increase in student disciplinary cases should be lauded.
The Government banned public caning in schools in 2004. However, headmasters are still allowed to use the cane in schools for disciplinary problems, with a disciplinary teacher at site.
Caning is a significant element in the disciplinary system. The question is how well is it executed by the disciplinary teacher after all other options – counselling, detention class, extra classes, in-school suspension as well as out-of school suspension – have not achieved the objective.
Most times, caning is meted out in the school office by the headmaster or discipline teacher for the student to take responsibility for his action; and to supply him with the pain he needs to induce a change in attitude or behaviour for an offence which is deemed unacceptable and serious.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi had said that disciplinary issues had been on the rise, especially bullying and gangsterism, which needed to be tackled promptly and be checked at an early stage from growing into a bigger problem.
The number of truancy cases in primary schools had been on the rise, registering 16,000 cases in 2010 and last year; and in secondary schools, 11,000 cases in 2010 and 10,488 last year.
Students are found loitering and smoking at shopping malls, snooker centres and Internet cafes which are filled with gangsters and criminals who can influence the students into becoming gang members.
The saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” holds water. Parents play an important role in the shaping of their children’s character and failure to spend quality time with their children to instil positive values in them contributes to children feeling neglected and becoming easy prey to negative influences of their peers who may be members of secret societies.
I recommend corporal punishment for serious cases like fighting, stealing and smoking. Public caning will serve as a deterrent.
The intention is for corrective action. The embarrassment of being punished in front of students and teachers had helped many students during my time to turn over a new leaf.
The notion of compulsory National Service for school leavers to teach them positive values like discipline, nationhood and patriotism must be supported by parents and teachers to ensure students grow up to become responsible citizens.
C. SATHASIVAM SITHERAVELLU, Seremban.
Source: The STAR Online Home News Opinion Monday May 28, 2012