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OVER the years, we have heard of cases where certain members of the teaching profession involved in discipline have overstepped boundaries by imposing excessive punishment on students to the detriment of their health.

Therefore, it is encouraging to see Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek taking a tough stand in the case of a teacher who allegedly punished a Year Five pupil by forcing him to stand for three hours in the hot sun, resulting in him having a heatstroke.

We should have zero tolerance for such behaviour by anyone.

While full investigations are ongoing, it is incumbent on the Education Ministry to implement a stringent code of conduct that explicitly prohibits any form of excessive punishment of students, which can have undesirable consequences, more so when it involves sensitive issues related to race or religion. This code should be clearly communicated to all teachers and enforced rigorously.

As part of their training, teachers must be instilled with awareness programmes on issues of diversity, multiculturalism, racial and religious sensitivity.

These programmes should focus on promoting understanding, empathy and mutual respect as well as unity of all races, cultures and all strata of society.

Additionally, the ministry can establish an anonymous reporting mechanism for students, parents and teachers to report instances of misconduct by certain teachers affecting the safety of students. This will encourage transparency and accountability.

Swift disciplinary action must be taken against teachers found guilty of this misconduct. Sometimes, it may be necessary to provide counselling and support services for teachers who need such support.

We should also review and revise the curriculum to ensure that it reflects the diversity of our society and promotes values of equality, respect and understanding across different racial and cultural backgrounds.

By implementing these measures, the Education Ministry will be credited with creating a more inclusive and equitable education system that respects the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity.