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Teachers warned on verbal abuse
Published on: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: School teachers have been told to refrain from using derogatory remarks on students such as "stupid" and "lazy" as this can destroy their character, future and self confidence.

State Education Director Hajah Maimunah Suhaibul said Monday such verbal abuse on students by teachers is, in fact, not allowed in the profession.

"Their core business is teaching and it is wrong for them to call a student 'stupid' or 'lazy' or 'unintelligent'.

It is their job to help their students do better not only in studies but holistically," she said.

She pointed out that negative labels can have a destructive effect on a young person sooner or later in life.

Citing a case study, Maimunah said a prison inmate once blamed his teacher for his tendency to commit theft.


"When the researcher asked what made him end up in jail, the inmate said "it's because of my teacher"," she shared.

"Apparently, the researcher discovered that when he was young, his teacher had caught him having in his possession something that belonged to his classmate. The teacher then called him a thief," she added.

Although it was an isolated case, the reality of students being mistreated by verbally abusive teachers is not uncommon and many parents have suggested that the education system was too lenient on the issue.

Some parents also suggested that the issue seldom come to light because students keep silent about it out of fear.

Maimunah admitted that this is a weakness of the system and that there is no mechanism in place at the moment to address the issue more effectively.


She also said this is human factor.

However, she assured that the school administration and education authorities always welcome complaints from parents if their children have been subject to such treatment by teachers. She said they will cooperate in every way to address any case.

Earlier, Maimunah handed appointment letters to over 200 Sabahan graduate teachers who will be posted in various secondary schools in the State with immediate effect. She said with the latest batch, the number of Sabahan teachers posted schools in the State has increased to 74.7 per cent (secondary schools) and 82 per cent (primary schools) to date. Last year, Education Minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid had said that 10,560 or 72.1 per cent of secondary school teachers and 21,105 or 80.2 per cent of primary school teachers in Sabah were Sabahans.

He reportedly said that the 90 per cent could be achieved if certain measures were taken one of which was to transfer peninsula-based teachers teaching in Sabah back to their home States.

At the State Assembly earlier this year, minister in charge of education affairs in Sabah Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun had called for the hiring and placement of teaching graduates under the 90:10 ratio to be hurried up.


As of 31 January this year, Sabah officially had a total number of 42,047 teachers teaching in 864 pre-schools, 1,072 primary and 219 secondary schools.

1,114 of the schools are rural and only 177 in the urban areas. The total number of students were 501,541.

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