THE education of our children is not the sole responsibility of teachers or the school. It is a partnership between teachers, school and parents, and in any partnership, there will be responsibilities to be shared among the partners. Navigating through this may at times be tricky for teachers, parents and guardians. The suggestion by the National Union of Teaching Profession Malaysia to have a Code of Ethics for Parents and Guardians is a way through this maze. The motivation behind the proposal is perhaps the increasing number of attacks by parents on teachers. NUTP says such incidents have not reached an alarming level, but it wants to arrest the problem before they get out of hand. Indiscipline in schools has spiralled in the recent past. On Aug 17, this paper highlighted the case of 402 schools being saddled with disciplinary problems. While Selangor and Johor topped the list with 76 and 63 schools respectively, Kuala Lumpur shamed us with 22 schools, all with drug issues. The disciplinary issues were so serious that police had to call in parents of problematic students for a chat. Bullying, too, is on the rise in residential and non-residential schools. Death due to bullying is not unheard of. NUTP’s proposed code may go some distance in solving this growing menace.
Parents must understand that the school is a learning environment and, as such, it would have rules to ensure that the institution is operated with this objective in mind. Parents must help, not hinder the school in meeting its objectives. The first duty of parents is to send to school a well-disciplined child, who is willing to learn. This is mostly, not entirely though, a result of the nurturing process at home. At times, a well-disciplined child may be shaped by the environment, either at school or outside, into a bully. For example, if a child from a caring home lands in one of the 22 schools in Kuala Lumpur with serious discipline issues, there is a likelihood that the child would fall prey to bad influence. Peer pressure will get to the child, and without early intervention, he will be a delinquent in no time.
Here is where the Code of Ethics for Parents and Guardians will come in handy. A good code will lay out the “dos” and “don’ts” for the parents to navigate their way through the education of their children. Parents who care for the development of their children will closely monitor their children’s progress in school. Parents need to recognise that the school is a place of work as well. Like any other place of work, it will have a code of conduct and parents must adhere to them. If a parent has an issue with a teacher, he or she cannot barge into the classroom to confront the teacher. The parent must use the proper channel to voice his concerns. Viewing the situation from our child’s point of view alone isn’t enough. The truth may lie elsewhere. A code of ethics may show the way.