Malaysia needs a third party to conduct an independent investigation over horrible period spot checks and find out the seriousness of sexual indecency in schools.
Minister of Education Radzi Jidin told Bernama yesterday that the education ministry is investigating if period spot checks are taking place at schools under the ministry, yet so far there was no indication that such practice existed.
“We’re checking ‘one by one’, we’ve asked all divisions and the answer was no (such practices existed),” he said.
We read on social media that in multiple schools, girls have to undergo “period spot checks” that violate their privacy to prove that they are menstruating and hence, are exempted from prayers. This was according to current students and those who left school as far back as 20 years ago.
These are real stories and not fictions. However, it seems that no teacher would openly admit to sexual harassment and abuse of power. It shows that our school administrators and Ministry of Education have lost the ability to self-check, self-correct, self-rectify and self-monitor.
It is therefore pertinent for us to appoint a 3rd party to conduct a thorough investigation over this horrible period spot check and find out the seriousness of sexual indecency in schools.
The committee should be given the authority to enter schools, to talk to the students, ex-students and teachers freely. Whoever talks to them should also be given the assurance that no action will be taken against them later.
The committee should also be given the responsibility to access the shortcomings of sexual education in our national education system. Sexual education has been taught in school since preschools. When PH was the government, we have included statutory rape, child grooming, and sexual harassment as part of the school syllabus starting 2021.
However, we cannot assume that these are sufficient and sexual education have been taught effectively in schools, especially in view of the recent incident where teacher making jokes about rape.
Period spot check and teacher making jokes about rape has brought the level of confidence to public schools to a new low point.
Any attempt to dismiss the issue lightly or swipe the issue under the carpet will only disappoint students like Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, who deserve to feel safe in schools.
Teo Nie Ching
Kulai Member of Parliament