After complaints, Education DG posts caning guidelines
Published:  May 12, 2016 2:16 PM
Updated: 2:18 PM

Education Ministry director-general Khair Mohamad Yusof has shared a copy of the ministry’s circular on corporal punishment on his Facebook account.

He posted the six-page document dated Oct 29, 2003 without any elaboration.

However, the posting came after several parents complained against ‘unfair caning’ that purportedly took place at SJK(C) Kheng Chee in Puchong last month.

According to The Star on May 4, the parents lodged a report to the Selangor state education department on May 3, claiming that the school’s headmistress had caned almost 100 Year Three students for not bringing a school workbook.

More students from Year Three purportedly faced the same fate as their Year Three peers on the subsequent day, but the book turned out to be optional co-curricular material.

One parent reportedly told the English-language daily that his son and two others were caned in view of their classmates.

According to the ministry’s circular however, public caning is prohibited - whether during assemblies or during classes.

“Such action would humiliate the student, and would have even worse effects on his personal development,” the circular cautioned.

It reminded school principals and teachers that caning should be intended only as a disciplinary tool to teach students a lesson. The punishment is not to cause harm, and should not be done out of anger or to exact revenge.

Caning is also the only corporal punishment allowed on male pupil, whereas it is absolutely prohibited on female pupils.

The circular also specifies that the cane should be of light weight, and should only strike the male pupil’s palm, or covered buttocks.

The school must also keep a confidential record of the corporal punishments carried out. The details to be recorded includes the nature of student’s infraction, the number of strokes of the cane, the body part struck, and the names and signatures of those who carried out the punishment and witnesses.

The circular also provides a lists of infractions and prescribes the appropriate punishment.

Minor offences such as disrupting lessons, not submitting homework, and being late are to be given warnings and provided counselling.

Offences such as committing minor offences more than three times, abusing the school’s electrical equipment, and cheating, are treated as ‘moderate offences’. These are to be punished by no more than three strokes of the cane to the offender’s palm.

Serious offences are to be punished with three lashes of the cane to the offender’s buttocks.

These offences include repeated infractions of moderate offences, possession or use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products, and insolence towards teachers, prefects, or fellow students.

A copy of the circular can be downloaded from the Education Ministry’s website, here.

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