Monday, August 08, 2005

Drug Testing @ Varsities

In a commendable move by the Ministry of Higher Education reported by the Star today, the local universities have agreed to comply with the Ministry's plan to conduct random drug tests on undergraduates.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Salleh announced on Saturday that random drug testing would be conducted at all public institutions of higher learning as early as next month.

This was part of the ministry's anti-drug campaign jointly organised with the Youth and Sports Ministry. Random testing for drugs is among the many measures proposed over the last few years to eradicate the problem of drug addiction among undergraduates.
Let's also hope that the university authorities will not take a defensive stance on the move, for some have appeared to have reluctantly agreed to the plan:

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) vice-chancellor Prof Dr Salleh Yassin said although drug abuse was not a concern at the university, he supported the plan.

“I have yet to see the details but whatever it is, we will comply. Drug abuse is not a problem among students here at UKM.
The authorities are apparently "concerned" that any students caught with drug abuse will give the university concerned a bad name. The students welfare should be the varsities' overwhelming priority of concern. Students getting caught for drug abuse should not affect the reputation of the universities, as they are often acts of individuals - there's no way we will say that the university "encouraged" drug abuse amongst its students.

Let's hope that the universities, in their potentially over-zealous attempts to protect their "good name", will not resort to actions and measures which will render the drug tests ineffective. This will in turn result in the initiative failing to meet its noble objectives.

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