MP SPEAKS | Malaysia needs a third party to conduct an independent investigation into horrible period spot checks and find out the seriousness of sexual indecency in schools.
Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin told Bernama yesterday that his ministry is investigating if period spot checks are taking place at schools under it, yet so far there has been no indication that such practice existed.
"We're checking 'one by one', we've asked all divisions and the answer was no (such practices existed)," he said.
We read on social media that in multiple schools, girls have to undergo “period spot checks” that violate their privacy to prove that they are menstruating and hence, are exempted from prayers. This was according to current students and those who left school as far back as 20 years ago.
These are real stories and not fiction. However, it seems that no teacher would openly admit to sexual harassment and abuse of power. It shows that our school administrators and Education Ministry have lost the ability to self-check, self-correct, self-rectify and self-monitor.
It is therefore pertinent for us to appoint a third party to conduct a thorough investigation over this horrible period spot check and find out the seriousness of sexual indecency in schools.
The committee should be given the authority to enter schools, to talk to students, former students and teachers freely. Whoever talks to them should also be given the assurance that no action will be taken against them later.
The committee should also be given the responsibility to access the shortcomings of sex education in our national education system. Sex education has been taught in school since preschool. When Pakatan Harapan was the government, we included statutory rape, child grooming, and sexual harassment as part of the school syllabus starting this year.
However, we cannot assume that this is sufficient and sex education has been taught effectively in schools, especially in view of the recent incident where a teacher was said to have made jokes about rape.
Period spot check and teachers making jokes about rape have brought the level of confidence in public schools to a new low. Let us be proactive to correct the wrong, and restore the confidence of the public towards our national education system.
Any attempt to dismiss the issue lightly or swipe it under the carpet will only disappoint students like Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, who deserve to feel safe in schools.
TEO NIE CHING is the Kulai MP.
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