KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry is open to introducing anti-bully training modules for disciplinary teachers following the fatal cases recently.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said though the current syllabus had elements to combat such issues, the ministry welcomed efforts to improve teachers’ ability to resolve student-related problems.
“If a proposal to improve the process is brought forward, the ministry is open to studying its effectiveness and implementation.
“A collective effort between parents, teachers and students is needed to create awareness of the bullying phenomenon, and to make sure students understand bullying is not okay.
“Students should report bullying incidents and teachers must take them seriously and follow procedures,” he told the New Sunday Times.
National Union of Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan, who agreed that such a module should be proposed, suggested that it should address three aspects.
He said besides training, caning as a method to enforce discipline should be reinstated.
Tan said disciplinary teachers were only allowed to mete out corporal punishment with written consent from the principal, but many teachers chose not to cane for fear of backlash from parents and the public.
“Disciplinary teachers are facing a predicament of not being able to use corporal punishment though they are allowed to.
“Most of them are fierce and tough, so they may overdo (the punishment). They must have training and know when to draw the line between instilling discipline and abusing students.
“They must also be trained in psychology so that they can handle different kinds of students based on psychological theories and deal with bullies and victims.”
The final aspect should centre on intervention skills. Teachers should be trained to de-escalate physical aggression, such as brawls, without getting injured or causing injuries.
He recommended that these training modules be given only to certain teachers, especially those under the purview of the senior assistant in charge of student affairs.