An exasperated Hishammuddin wants all national schools to get the message: follow the Education Ministry’s disciplinary rules and regulations or face stern action. "As to those who do not follow the rules set by the Government... I am asking anyone who feels discriminated against or is dissatisfied with any school’s regulations which do not comply with the standard rules, to inform us immediately," he said.For Datuk Seri Hishammuddin's "threat" to be effective or taken seriously by defiant headmasters and teachers, there are several things which the Ministry of Education must do.
First of all, there must be punishment meted out to those who do not follow the rules set out by the Ministry of Education. The rules have been in place since 1992 "prohibiting schools from compelling female students to wear the tudung". Hishammuddin himself has admitted that "some schools continue to ignore his directive" despite having "repeatedly said that it is not compulsory for students to wear the tudung".
The simple reason why these headmasters and teachers can choose to continue to ignore the rules is because no serious actions are ever taken against them.
For instance, will the principal of SMK Abdullah Munshi, Pn Fazillah Shaharim, ever be punished? And what will the punishment be? As stated in the New Straits Times report, "no clear directive or action has been taken by the ministry against schools which are enforcing their own brand of discipline that go against the standard rules set by the Government."
Secondly, the public will like to ask, what is the best way of reaching the Ministry to inform the Minister of recalcitrant headmasters? Is there a special hotline? What are the hours of operations? Do we have to write in official? And will we ever find out if any of the complaints and allegations get investigated? Or do we have to call the infamous Deputy Minister who made global headlines by asking all unhappy foreigners to go home directly, since he is now given the responsibility to discipline errant educators?
The two issues above are simple practical issues which need to be resolved to ensure that events such as listed above whereby students are unfairly penalised to ensure that they do not repeat themselves in exasperating frequencies. Go on, Datuk Seri, make the delivery system of the Ministry of Education one Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi would be proud of.