Teachers have moral obligation to uphold their pupils’ dignity and right

By Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal

 

THE Children’s Commissioner (CC) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) is concerned with recent reports of poor conduct of some teachers tinting the image of this noble profession.

These included teachers’ sexually harassing a student activist on social media by using foul language and body shaming her, and the toxic culture of teachers covering up for one another when a complaint arises.

A few weeks earlier, the occurrence of “period spot checks” came to light, causing parents and public, alike, much distress and disbelief.

Teachers play an important role in realizing vision of the Education Act 1996 that aims to “develop the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God”.

The Commissioner urges the Education Ministry (MOE) to take action against teachers who sexually harass female students using foul languages and sexual undertones.

Action also be taken against teachers who harass students who are brave enough to stand up for their rights.

Teachers are role models and must realise that their actions – or non-actions – would impact upon the lives of their students for many years. Teachers must respect children’s rights and treat them with dignity, at all times.

The Children’s Commissioner reminds and insists that schools must be made safe places for children, and more measures should be instituted so that children will enjoy their time learning, gaining useful and wholesome education that will last their lifetime.

The Children Commissioner reiterates that the function of schools, the training of teachers and the education system should be reviewed so that vision of the Education Act as well the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will be achieved. – May 4, 2021

 

Professor Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal is the SUHAKAM’s Children Commissioner.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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