Sunday, March 12, 2006

Corruption in Chinese Schools: Not My Problem

I wrote about the issue of corrupted headmasters a couple of days ago, A certain Mr Ong Koh Hou offers a reward of RM500,000 for information and evidence of corruption by headmasters in Chinese primary schools and the Federation of Chinese School Headmasters (FCSH) responded by going beserk.

In an interesting side comment our Minister of Education, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein gave to the press yesterday, he "said the issue was between school boards and the headmasters, and the ministry had no intention of getting involved... Let them sort it out internally". Huh?

Dearest Minister, this is a serious issue involving potentially hundreds of millions in the Malaysian Chinese vernacular schools, which as far as I'm aware, is still under the purview of the Ministry of Education. Corruption in schools is not a Chinese community issue. You can't wash your hands off it!

The Ministry should instead set up special committees involving senior Ministry officials, parent-teacher associations (PTAs), the police force as well as the Anti-Corruption Agency to investigate and audit the financial transactions of the individual schools. Those parties - headmasters and teachers - found guilty of corrupt practices must be sacked from the civil service.

Headmasters' corruption is a very serious issue. We often complain about traffic police officers requesting "duit kopi" for traffic offences which are valid or otherwise. However, I actually think that systematic corruption in our schools may actually be even more lucrative than that of the junior police officers. There probably used to be a time whereby the sale of "exercise books" and all provided some side income for the headmasters. However, today, I am pretty certain that some headmasters take home more from these "side incomes" than their actual pay.

More importantly, our young ones should not be exposed such systematic corruption right where they are supposed to be educated to be righteous individuals with rock-solid integrity. If they were to learn that even the headmaster, the de facto leader of the school, condones and is involved in petty corruption, it is then unsurprising that this dreaded culture becomes one accepted by the students as they grow older.

Be brave and bold, Datuk Seri.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

i thought: a malay issue is a national issue, a chinese issue is a racial issue, an indian issue is not an issue? since when the chinese issue has become "not an issue" now?