Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Headmasters Go Beserk

Two days ago, I wrote on the issue of corrupt ed headmasters which seems to have dominated the Chinese press over the few days. A certain Mr Ong Koh Hou, chairman of the board of directors of SJK(C) Chin Woo offered a reward of RM500,000 on parties who are able to provide the relevant evidence of headmasters who have profited from sale of products and services to students.

The "rebuttal" from the Federation of Chinese School Headmasters has been fierce and relentless, practically bordering on the absurd. According to Chinese dailies today, the decision by the Federation of Chinese School Headmasters would take effect by the middle of the year and include a stop to sales of non-compulsory material, such as revision books.

Earlier, Chairman of the National Union of Heads of Schools, Mr Kang Siew Koon, said they would take action against those who claimed there were headmasters who could be pocketing as much as RM150 million in commissions from suppliers. Shouldn't they instead "take action" against those headmasters to pockets unethical commissions instead?

I strongly believe that the actions of the Federation is completely unbecoming of educationists and betrays their duty and responsibility to the students they lead.

By threatening to stop sales of non-compulsory items, computer and tuition classes as well as payable extra-curricular activities such as school trips, the headmasters are essentially holding students, parents and the entire Chinese education system to ransom. So there are certain weaknesses in the current school administration system allowing certain headmasters to profit unethically from it. But instead of taking the proper stance of wiping out corruption (or proving the allegations false) to enhance the current system, these idiots decide that its the students that should be punished for such corrupt practices.

And I thought these type of imbecile activities are limited to immature 5 year olds.

A certain computer company dominates the provision of computer classes for many states in Malaysia. The standard rates charged, as mentioned in my earlier post is RM10 per student for 10 months a year. A little bird from the company itself, which employs many former educationists and headmasters, told me that the company basically hands out commissions to these headmasters in envelopes containing wads of cash at the normal rate of RM1 per student per month. The amount actually works out to RM10,000 per annum for a school of 1,000 students.

I am aware of certain headmasters who accepts these contributions and place them in a special fund in the school for the purposes of the students in the school. But there are clearly plenty of headmasters who probably took it all home.

The little bird told me that with the practice having gone unchecked for the past 20 years or so, headmasters have been taking it for granted. That actually means that these "commissions" are treated openly in the schools administrative and accounting books. Hence it may just be this "openness" which the headmasters are now scrambling to sweep under the carpet, preventing them from taking the upright stance of offering their books for inspection.

If there were someone out there who offered RM500,000 for evidence and reports of corrupt policemen or civil service officers, the public will applaud such a measure. Similarly, Mr Ong should be applauded for offering the reward for exposes on corrupt headmasters. Headmasters should not be an exception to the rule, and should not be immune from investigations of malpractice and corruption.

The concern now is MCA politicians are now coming into the fray seeking the respective parties to "settle the issue amicably". I would not be surprised if an "amicable" settlement is found where headmasters will get to carry on their duties as little emperors and the students and parents continue to suffer in silence. I'd love to be proved wrong, but the politicians would seem to be more interested in negotiating "peace" than to stop unethical headmaster practices. The issue is not about "peace", it's about doing the right thing.

I'm totally and absolutely disgusted by the actions of the Federation of Chinese School Headmasters in putting the selfish personal interests first and the students last. Their behaviour reeks of gangsterism - maintain status quo, or we'll withdraw all "protection". They are a disgrace to the education system and do not deserve the recognition as "educationists".


Anonymous said...

Is that certain company Dynabook ?

Anonymous said...

dear tony,

please look at this
and give some views.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why is the Chinese School being single out here? Speaking as a person femiliar with the Education scene in Malaysia, these "practices" exists in the whole Education System irregardless levels and types of schools.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing new. It can perhaps be called tradition in the Chinese school. When I was a primary student some fourty years, this was practised except that the amount was small compared to present standard. As for MCA mediates to settle amicably, it is another example of MCA's tactics of sweeping issues under the carpet instead of facing the problem squarely as in the case of 'old men shaved bald for alleged invlovement in gambling'

Anonymous said...

Chairman of the National Union of Heads of Schools, Mr Kang Siew Koon have a "good relationship" with MCA leader, he indeed openly using National Union capacity to support Fong Chan Onn and OKT in last year MCA election.

Anonymous said...

Mr Ong Koh Hou is actually against a certain Mr. Lee, who was the past headmaster of SJK(c) Chin Woo. He himself has evidence of Mr. Lee embezzling RM1.5 million in 4 years. He had threatened to drop "the bomb" anytime soon, as according to him.

And where has that Mr. Lee gone to now ? Suprise suprise. Hes currently at that school where fellow commentor lyl went to.


the chinese school located at Jalan Raja Laut, behind the Quality Hotel (formerly Holiday Inn), just behind the Sultan Ismail LRT station. Its widely known as CKS.


Anonymous said...

There are parts of Chinese society that has not changed since Imperial times. You wonder why LKY is so paranoid about corruption in Singapore? Frankly, its part of our historical DNA to do this to ourselves. People like Tony should be commended for highlighting this issue but to be realistic our imperial way of doing things means that it takes a leader to rectify this. Ong Ka Ting who has little backbone is not one to do it. Chinese businessmen who donate the most to schools like Lim Goh Tong and Yeoh Tiong Lay should lead as should clan assoications.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I wonder why is the Chinese School being single out here?"

Why? Because we have a whistle blower, regardless of his motive.

As for other schools, I wonder if the following applies....

Other national schools may be connected to powerful people who cannot be offended?

Or is it because races do not have whistle blowers?

Other schools have better funding hence burden is not shifted to parents?