Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Republic of virtue, 4/09

Public caning for schools? PDF Print E-mail
Posted by admin
Saturday, 11 April 2009 15:58

virtue

Consider the recent suggestion to re-introduce "public caning" in schools. Ask ourselves -- why have we come to a point where we need to reintroduce such a sign and symbol of authoritarianism?

A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE

Azly Rahman
dr.azly.rahman@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/

Times have changed. In the 1940s and 50s our grandparents send their kids to school with a cane/rotan. Child psychology was not in vogue yet. They did not know any other way. American democracy was not pervasive yet. TV was still in black and white. iPHONES, Blackberry, and iPODS were still in the imagination of kids yet to make it big like Bill Gates.

The problem in schools is deeper than just behavioral. Boredom, apathy, and disengagement are merely symptoms of a larger problem. The problem lies in the entire spectrum of what we have been doing over the last 50 years, the crisis of educational leadership we have, a vision of society which does not match the politics in education we have deeply hammer into the schools we built. It lies in the philosophy, paradigm, pedagogy, process, and product. Most importantly it lies in the we view human nature as it related to economic development.

We can begin to analyze this issue by looking at what we have produced: Mat and Minah Rempits. Our education system has become "rempitised".

--------------------

I once wrote the following piece on educational restructuring for our "Rempitised" education system.

"The (North Pole Free Fall) expedition is among the latest controversial moves by Umno to engage youths, especially Mat Rempit, in a series of baffling activities…. This includes a 50,000-strong carnival gathering which never took off, a road trip tainted by sex and booze allegations and a proposed programme to reward mat rempit for nabbing snatch thieves."
- Malaysiakini newsreport March 10, 2007

Again and again we are sending a wrong message to the children of tomorrow concerning what good behavior for our youth should be. Wrong model.

Why are we allowing Umno Putera to glorify Mat Rempits and reward them with something they do not deserve?

Don't these youth leaders know what education means and how to educate these 'damaged' youth? We do not understand what being "fair but firm" means in educating troubled youth.

Worse, we do not understand the root cause of why children fail in school but graduate to become Mat and Minah Rempits or "Alongs" and all kinds of human beings alienated by the system we built together.

The 50,000 strong gathering, the name-change to Mat Cemerlang, the proposed drag race circuit, and now the North Pole jump – what are these for in the name of 'education for good citizenship'? How many will 50,000 Mat Rempits multiply into in a decade? What will be the consequence for our nation already falling apart from corruption and mismanagement?

We need more than just quick fix solution to the issue of 'juvenile delinquency' that is getting out of control. We need a "zero-tolerance policy" on "rempitizing behaviors".

Don't the ministry of education know what the taxpayers want for the education system? Why not spend money preparing good teachers to prepare good curriculum and teaching strategies to deal with the children of the Millennium generation?

Why not spend money making sure that all schools meet the minimum standards of technology, resources, safety, and teacher competency? Why not beef up the "rempit division" of the police force?

Why continue to arrogantly trumpet pseudo-humanistic approach to curing the disease of rempitism when there are better long-lasting ways we can employ to make sure students do not become what they shouldn't be becoming?

The wrong model

Mat Rempit wannabes will think that even if they do not do well in school and not be disruptive, they will still grow up protected by the system created by those who want to continue to preach the "welfare mentality".

There will be youth political parties trying hard enough to negotiate with the "motorcycle gang" so that the latter can be of help in maintaining the hegemony of the ruling party.

The compromising approach towards those who "terrorize" neighborhoods, law-abiding citizens, or even rob and maim others will give more and more power to many others to follow the footsteps of the motorcycled mob.

"I'll make you an offer you can't refuse" said Don Vito Corleone of Mario Puzo's The Godfather fame – would be the best way to describe the philosophy of how we reward these troubled youth.

A wrong model of youth education will produce more youth who will see national development through wrong lens.

Perhaps our minister of education need to spend one class period a month in different classroom settings, as an undercover substitute teacher, to understand the culture of the classroom and to make sense of why many things are failing.

Perhaps top ranking officials of the ministry without classroom experience need to take turns doing this undercover job to see why we are not producing the graduates we want.

Perhaps these officials can be given a class period to teach in the urban schools and where Mat and Minah Rempits reign – schools in Puchong for example. Or they can sit in classroom in Arau Perlis where broken door, blackboard, windowpanes, ceilings and walls welcome new students daily.

These are the real stuff of teaching – ones that ministers do not see. Many are merely interested in 'officiating' smart schools and have photo sessions for example with Microsoft's Bill Gates in Dengkil – schools that will produce no Mat and Minah Rempits.

Many do not even want their children near National Service camps that has taken the lives of many of our precious youth to date! We now have a movement towards the three school system – public, private, and international – each catering to the degree of fear parents have towards their children's education.

This is the lifeboat/sinking sampan mentality we have cultivated as a nation.

But education is about hope and love.That's what the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire once said. It is about modeling best practice. Where do we begin then?

The right model

First, we need to stop sending the wrong message. We need to reward those who are doing well academically regardless of race, and help channel their creativity through the spectrum of their educational experience.

We need to create classrooms with smaller sizes so that the needs of these children can be met according to their interest. The "small schools" movement that identify children's career interest at an early age can be a good model to work from – schools modeled after the concept of "academies".

Let experts from all sector of society -- the stakeholders in education -- help suggest good ideas on how to help our troubled youth.

Next, get funding to create alternative schools for troubled youth, that would also include a course in 'motorcycle education'.

We need to study the "ecology" of the child and the "anthropology of the modern Malaysian school" and classroom in order to ascertain why children become disillusioned in schools and declare their freedom and irresponsibility on the streets, past midnight.

We need to find out where their parents are and why they are no longer doing good parenting. We need to teach them that poverty is not a license to leave their children to be educated by the streets. In poverty too there is dignity and an inspiration to raise grateful children who will not be a menace to society.

We need to study the socio-economic make-up of the youth at risk and ascertain the nature of psychological emotional, and even spiritual derangement that is plaguing our youth. We need to hold parents accountable for their children's behavior, not just leave already stressed and poorly-paid teachers to become "correctional officers", while trying to create success for all.

Parents must be given trainings in what matters for their children in school and how to monitor behaviors. Schooling should be a peaceful partnership between the child, parents, teachers, and the society we wish to create.

It is not about stealing the minds of children of tomorrow or the benefit of politics of the here and now.

We need to study the ecology of the media and the nature of fast changing economy to see the impact of it on the youth of today. What are the youth watching on TV? Who produces junk programs that produces the "GIGO" (garbage-in-garbage-out) mind? How does the media exploit the insecurities of our youth?

Certainly a lot to study and act upon.

But first and foremost, we must study ourselves as a nation—where are we going?

And—we need to stop political parties from further nurturing 'rempitism'. There are better ways—by being fair yet firm.

Let us pray that those with "rempitised" minds do not become our political leaders or education ministers.

Education, as the philosopher John Dewey would say, is the only way for social and intellectual progress. Teach children, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, according to the times they are in.

Good luck with our journey. We hope for the experts in our ministry to guide us through.

OUR USUAL REMINDER, FOLKS:
While the opinion in the article is mine,
the comments are yours;
present them rationally and ethically.
AND -- SET ALL I.S.A. DETAINEES FREE]

Comments (17)Add Comment
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written by SocratesI, April 11, 2009 16:13:59

Dr. Azly,

It is quite clear that the Utterly Moronic Nazi Organization Putera wing consists mainly of Mat Rempit who are glorifying Mat Rempit for their own egos and advantage. They have formed UMNO Putera and control it so that they can carry on their lawless and anti-social activities with impunity ! I would have thought that was quite plain for everyone to see !!

They should throw all the Putera members in jail in Kamunting under the ISA ! 'Nuff said !

.
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written by Chuan, April 11, 2009 16:18:00
Why do I have this feeling that someone pressed the rewind button on this beloved country of mine?
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written by Debbie, April 11, 2009 16:28:52
no matter what .........u can be a highly educated parent...but u would never know the difference between an educated parent as well as a teacher at the same time.....kids dont come from the same branches of the tree..

Call me whatever you want..but I still believe in having a disciplinarian teacher in schools.

Blame it on the parents....as they say monkey do what monkey see

I am a parent as well as having been a teacher for 18 yrs..and thank god I had the kindi and preschoolers.....at least I know I did my best

Shalom and happy easter to all my fellow brethren
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written by SocratesI, April 11, 2009 16:33:12

Debbie is absolutely correct ! Throw the UMNO Putera members AND their parents in jail in Kamunting under the ISA !

.
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written by Engineer, April 11, 2009 16:55:45
Probably the provocators of public caning in schools thinks that students will be reformed to support ARM NO.
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written by Hakim Joe, April 11, 2009 17:06:34
Why are we allowing Umno Putera to glorify Mat Rempits and reward them with something they do not deserve?
_______________________________________________________ ______________

Permit me to put it in simpler terms - race.
If the Mat Rempits are predominantly Chinese or Indians, they would have been wiped out.

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written by imanj, April 11, 2009 17:22:41
I would dare any educator with the Malaysian Education system to cane my child if she failed to do her homework or for any other reason in the name of discipline!!!

WHY i say this is,no one other than a parent,if needed,is tasked to take a drastic discipline action on their children FIRST.Parents should be consulted first if their children show problems in school.Discipline Boards are there to counsel and guide the students and have understanding with the parents of affected child ,to work on problems.

No one child is the same and they differ in preformance.A problem child could also be resulted from troubles at home or social environment.There are much better ways to address a child's weakness and behaviour.Harsh measures,like canning or even verbal scolding by anyone other than parents would never sit well with children.It makes situation more difficult to correct.YES be firm,with the right intention,for the child's betterment.

I've commented before on Dr Azly's article,that education requires nothing more than just a little love,encouragement and the sincerity that comes from compassion for the job.

I will not put any child through a school system that doesn't ensure its priority in educating is firstly about the children.!!!

Parents first play the most important role in child development,and schools are like a second homes,where we entrust our child's safety and well being while there are away from us.If school isn't made fun and approachable,then you have failed to instill children their first discoveries to learning and responsibilities before adulthood..!! And teachers/educators are parents too..!!


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written by AsamLaksa, April 11, 2009 17:30:08
Hmmmmm.... hmmmmm.... though there are many points in this article that I superficially agree with, I think overall it is too simplistic. There are some bits which I think smells too much of a nanny state. There are some bits which I only touch the surface of the issue yet purport to be the solution.

I can't say I know the answers but I will comment on bits.

I think education is about exploring for the young minds. Let them see the world. Expose them to everything but in a more controlled manner where you provide them with information and the chance to return if they stray. So I say drop half the classes, teach them life. Take them out to trips and camps. This is where I would start. Let them engage with reality in a controlled manner. The rest are simple details.

For example academies. Sounds nice but only beneficial to a select few who actually knows what the want. I won't discount academies altogether but I won't say that half the schools should be turned into academies.

Strict discipline is a cop out. Can't mould them, so beat them into shape. Was it better with strict discipline in schools? Not really. In fact it prevents students from engaging with teachers further alienating them from the education system. It only appears to work because you keep the troublemakers away from school. And what do these troublemakers do then? As long as they stay away from your kids, it's ok and who cares if they end up as samsengs, eh?

What do I think of the stick. It's a tool. Like all tools it only works if you use it right. It is also not the only tool and not a vital one. What is important is the principles you apply in punishment and discipline. For example if you do not carry out due diligence to find out the truth of the offence and ended up punishing the wrong party it risk damaging the mentality of the child for years.

I always believe that the social ills of youth are the reflection of the ills facing the generation of their parents. You think the Mat Rempits just want to do nothing all day? They are normal kids with dreams and aspirations. Their malaise is really a reflection of their parent's malaise. Before DSAI's return to Malaysian politics the general feeling in Malaysia is one of general hopelessness where BN will continue to rule and no one has the strength to oppose them. They see many wrongs but has no will to make it right. The youths may not understand such but they can feel it in their families. There were little to cheer about or be hopeful about. There was nothing to fight for as hey even if they don't want it they are given this and that.

Compare this with well motivated families. You won't find Mat Rempits there.

UMNO has at least try to engage the Mat Rempits though I think in the wrong sense as they wanted to use them. I say engage is good but I think what we should aim to do is to empower them to better themselves. Also don't tell them how they should behave or what they should do. You do not like others to tell you such so don't expect them to like it as well. Tell them do whatever they want but always bear in mind that they should take full responsibility for all their actions. Entrench in their minds kalau buat salah, mengakulah.

Secret inspection in schools? Not needed. What is needed is sound policy. You don't even have that, the secret inspections may end up a witch hunt.

I say National Service is ok only if you do the real thing. If they are not serious, what's the point?

As for blaming UMNO, since when are you totally without liberties to raise your own children. Sure blame the government 100% for everything. To me schools are not all that is to it with education. Education continues outside school hours. You are making a big mistake if you delegate all your responsibility of educating your children to schools. Take up your responsibilities. If there is something you do not like in school, then take part in the PTA. Find out what your child experienced is school. Engage your children.

I do not want the repeat of mommy and daddy have problems and could not notice the problems of the child. I seriously contemplated to kill myself at 19.

So there, Azly, thanks for the article but I think there are many important things missing from it.
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written by lynn, April 11, 2009 17:45:06
Some of us were caned in school decades ago for giving wrong answers, answering slower than usual. Fortunately the caning was on our left palms only.

This is the 21st century: I totally disagree with re-introducing caning in schools, with our pathetic education system. This inefficient bn govt has already being told, it has a lousy education system, most teachers are at best, mediocre, uncommitted & merely interested to collect salary to pay bills. I was told a high percentage of teachers are also mentally unstable, unfit or unable to cope with a stressful situation so they usually lashed out with tragic circumstances which ultimately hurt the child seriously.

It's a great pity for Malaysian parents, most of whom are ignorant of their rights under the law (our rule of law has been raped/sodomised repeatedly). I would like to advise any parent here who is reading this page: please do NOT allow your child/teen to be caned. No matter what the perceived crime, if the school threatened to make a police report, pending investigation & the court verdict, every child retained his citizen's right to an education. No headmaster or minister of education has the right to expel your child or deprive him/her of education. I repeat, this is your child's birthright.

Let the school make the police report. Even if they threaten court action, go ahead. Take those arrogant b*st*rds to court if the school hurt your child.

I have come across headmasters who are arrogant & corrupt. Wanna put your kid in my school? Yes, pay some money under the table (not literally) and the sum could range from RM3500 to RM8000 (that was 5 yrs ago, today the rate has gone up, due to inflation). I personally encountered this: an arrogant headmaster of a primary chinese school in KL wanted cash if my son was given a place although our home was just a 5-min. walk to the school! Disgusting. And why is he so daring to ask for $$$? Because he knows he will not get caught. After all, our ACA was nothing to brag about. To this day, that man is still free. MACC wanna catch him? Set a trap.

I have dealt with difficult children a number of times - one thing i do know is, all children or teenagers, no matter how bad you think they are, usually eventually responds to patience, kindness & sincerity. Don't shout, don't dig it in & make the child feel worse than he/she is already feeling. Take a breather, try another approach. But never ever hit a child. Hitting a child is similar to teaching the kid, violence is okay. He will carry this in him for the rest of his life.

Oh well, this idea isn't going to work in a third world country like ours. Nobody cares.

All those years under TDM, who was only interested to prove himself to the world. You never see him in Malaysia frequently enough, reaching out to the grassroots, caring for the welfare of the poor & deprived in the kampungs;he was always onto "the tallest,longest,biggest,the firsts, whatever". How does this showing off benefit the rakyat? He could have ensured we had a world class education system, first class schools, first class trained teachers. He failed to do so.

Many years ago, at Sam Tet school in Ipoh, a young boy was caned publicly after the father consented to it. The school threatened to lodge a police report against the boy for stealing a teacher's wallet & the father was worried his son would have to go to court. The school promised to let the matter rest after the caning; after the caning, the school expelled the boy!!! Those bastards (chinese) - the headmaster was arrogant. Every child deserves a 2nd chance. The arrogance of that chinese headmaster. If i see him, i think i want to slap his bl**dy face 20 times until he spinned.

That incident upset me to this day. The father was a simpleton. He shld hv consulted a lawyer, faced the school bullying headmaster & let them lodge a police report. Even if the case went to court, chances are the judge will impose a suspended sentence. But to cane the boy publicly to humiliate him & his father, that b*st*rd of a headmaster deserved a fate such as horrible death accident or something worse. I hope the boy grew up okay today. Society is full of sick people & full of BS because of our govt's indifference towards the education system. The whole thing, in fact.

I advocate population control because i think it's time Malaysia focus on quality, not quantity. With this kind of govt in place, all the more reason, we shld advocate population control. No offense intended.
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written by AsamLaksa, April 11, 2009 18:11:44

I have dealt with difficult children a number of times - one thing i do know is, all children or teenagers, no matter how bad you think they are, usually eventually responds to patience, kindness & sincerity. Don't shout, don't dig it in & make the child feel worse than he/she is already feeling. Take a breather, try another approach. But never ever hit a child. Hitting a child is similar to teaching the kid, violence is okay. He will carry this in him for the rest of his life.


I strongly agree with this. Well said, Lynn.


I've commented before on Dr Azly's article,that education requires nothing more than just a little love,encouragement and the sincerity that comes from compassion for the job.


Strongly agree with this as well, Imanj. I think this applies to parents as well in their parenting "job".



On Lynn's proposal for population control, I am not too sure. I understand the merits of it. I am concerned as to how it will affect fundamental human rights. Would it be as strict as China? Or rather more geared towards educating individuals with reduced birth rates as a by product? As for quality, I for one do not want to see the return of Nazi eugenics. I think the worth of a person is not about how much the person can productively contribute to the country. I think the worth of the person should be the value he or she plays in relating to other human beings.
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written by Awaken64, April 11, 2009 22:35:24
This is the syndrome of semua mau kaya ...

from Mr Minister to the Headmaster level and then the teachers.
One set of teaching in school and another at home tuition. Speak to most Chinese parents and you will understand the extend of tuition for Chinese schools given by the teachers tax free tau.

Here we find students facing a stressed life or no life at all. Where is the scope to integrate among peers and enjoy education, with the high incidence of kidnapping and molest/rape and bully extortion we are not wrong to hold such view points,

America had the Ghetto and in the sixties faced the same issues public schools showed the energy and reverence to fight back, black and Hispanic communities crawled out of the programs with educationist such as Ron L Hobbard modules in education http://www.appliedscholastics.org/

We need to create a nation of learners for the lost generation with yo yo induction to varying mediums of education and focus on academic achievement. The fact is the leaders in our nations are hardly straight a students. Find the life of the high achievers most of them will be introvert and inclined to play supporting roles rather than leaders and live a frustrated life. Please do a series on the media just after the PMR/ UPSR or A levels and find out where the straight A students are. [ This will prove my point]

Please advocate for interracial association among students and parents. Unity is key to develop trust and kill illwill. We have been poisoned by our politicians and to some extent our own parents in the quest for excellence.

Thank you Dr Azly for your bold attempt .... cheers
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written by imanj, April 11, 2009 22:58:44
To AssamLaksa,thank you..

Als i do agree with your viewpoint on handling children.I did say any drastic sort of discipline should be done by a parent and not anyone else,meaning not in a harsh way but the firmness of disciplining a child by a parent first shows more positive results.

My comment above also says,that parents are firstly responsible for their children's developement,unfortunately in today's world many have failed their children.Parenting is teamwork from both parents when the child has two parents. More often then not one parent gets the job done better than two.Adults forget that they too were children and they should make every attempt to go down to the children's level in parenting.Educators on the other hand ought to be an approachable lot,like i've said.

I do agree with lynn too.Right now i just hate the thought of Malaysia 's school system,and i am near to tears thinking how the students ,especially the smaller ones,that are subjected to uncaring attitudes.There are just children for GOD's sake..






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written by NSTPravda, April 12, 2009 06:02:38
We fully subscribe that public caning be used
What entertainment is better than to have someone abused
In fact we should also reintroduce public hangings
Seeing live humans dangling will be almost amusing
Given that our school children is inadequately terrorised
To promote official violence, all beatings should now be franchised
Who else is better to administer these patriotic joys
Than the actions and well honed skilled of our FRU boys
Suitably traumatised, our future leaders are programmed by UMNO to prey
They are even now taught early, that violence and murder are semua-nya OK!

Hidup UMNO!
Duit-lah tuanku.
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written by densemy, April 13, 2009 14:07:41
Only a nation obsessed with discipline and a religion obsessed with violence would contemplate such a barbaric move

And why in this necessary, why is discipline such an issue in schools that violence is seen to be the only possible avenue to address the problem

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that teachers have no interest in their job and fail to be exciting and inspiring examples to their pupils

Maybe its because the facilities provided by the Education department are more like public toilets than they are exciting, welcoming, encouraging places where learning is seen as a pleasure and not a task

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Malaysian education philosophy is in itself barbaric and outdated and is of no interest to the majority of students

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that parents have abandoned their responsibility to the raising of their children because they are told the state and religion can do a much better job

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that as a general rule Malaysians of all races are almost devoid of any ethics and principles. So how do you expect their children to be any better with such wonderful role models

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Malaysians have very little common sense and imagination and can only resort to what was dealt out to them as answers to discipline problems

Maybe its because Malaysians have no respect for the young people of this nation and all they want to do is repress and suppress them

What sense is there in punishing the children for the shortcomings of their elders


It has been shown over and over and over again that violence is not the answer to discipline problems. But of course Malaysians always know better.

At least Pak Lah had the intelligence to see that
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written by lynn, April 15, 2009 22:13:10
"On Lynn's proposal for population control, I am not too sure. I understand the merits of it. I am concerned as to how it will affect fundamental human rights. Would it be as strict as China?"

AssamLaksa,

Thanks for your gentle comment. Of course, China's one child policy is the extreme when their population exceeded 1 billion - late-stage abortions when scan showed foetus was female & baby girls are given away ..... A long time ago, I read a book "The Black Hole of Calcutta" - about how India's chronic poor lived; it cited the case of a father going out each day to sell his blood as he was jobless. He gets paid a few rupees which were enough to buy a few bananas to feed wife & 2 kids. After a month or so, he fainted on the streets.

It was then I wondered, when a country is so poor and so overpopulated, why doesn't its govt do something to stop population growth? What is the point of harping on human rights when those hundreds of millions of babies are born into poverty, hunger & a bleak future?

So I stand by my opinion (no offence intended) - my emphasis is Quality over Quantity in every aspect of our lives (a dream... that's all). In Malaysia, where there is no rule of law, no discipline, to each man his own, this emphasis shld be all the more urgent.
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written by Areyaar, April 17, 2009 00:05:14
Are indiscipline, rebelliousness and rude behaviour a growing problem with children today? Regrettably the answer is "yes". But does that mean we can correct these behaviourial problems by publicly caning children in school? The answer is a definite "No".

Caning in schools is something that belongs in the Victorian era. While the physical pain will be forgotten, the emotional scarring will remain for ever.

Maybe it is the parents who need to redefine parenting. It seems that kids get away with a great deal of bad behaviour in the house because many parents are reluctant to discipline them. They prefer to ignore what their kids are doing.

Some teachers told me that their biggest headaches are the many, many irresponsible parents who do not show up at the school when teachers have asked them to come in to discuss their kids' performance/disciplinary problems. If the parents don't care, how can we expect the teachers to.

By all means, we should love and cherish our kids, but it is neither love nor good parenting to avoid disciplining them when they behave in an unacceptable manner.

Discipline however does not have to come in the form of physical punishment. There are other ways we can instil respect for the do's and don'ts of society in our children. We can ban them from watching tv for a week, for example. We can ground them; ban computer privileges, telephone privileges, and activities they enjoy, for a suitable period of time. Believe me, kids will not want to lose their privileges.






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written by educationist, April 19, 2009 10:06:38
As usual , a very thought out article on how to improve our education system.
But it will suffer the same as Dr Azly's many wonderful ideas, No Further Action by the UMNOputras.
They are more interested in the external show rather than the real substance on the ground.
So , sad!!

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