Sued for refusing to teach English

Kota Kinabalu: A former student of a secondary school in Kota Belud is suing the Government, Education Minister and six others for refusing to teach the English Language subject to her and her Form Four classmates three years ago.

It is understood to be the first such case where students are suing the school authorities for denying them their right to learn English.

She said this was a violation of their rights as students and was against the Federal Constitution, more so as it was their duty to teach but were absent from class nearly throughout the year.

They subsequently failed the subject in SPM examination, placing their hopes for a bright future in jeopardy.

Siti Nafirah Siman, 19, named Mohd Jainal Jamrin (a teacher), Hj Suid Hj Hanapi (in his capacity as Principal of SMK Taun Gusi), SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud District Education Officer, Sabah Education Director, Director General of Education Malaysia, Minister of Education Malaysia and Government of Malaysia as the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth defendant, respectively

In her statement of claim, Siti Nafirah said that the first defendant was a teacher at the school and at all material times was assigned to teach the English language subject to students at the 4 Perdagangan class (4PD), in which the plaintiff was in.

She claimed that on or about February, 2015, the first defendant stopped entering 4PD and another class for his assigned English classes and was absent right until November save for a week in October 2015.

On March 30, 2015, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seven defendants, through their officers were notified that English teachers of the said school were absent from their classes during their assigned teaching hours.

This notice was made in a WhatsApp chat group (known as ‘the Fulbright WhatsApp Group’) and it was made by one Ibrahim Jadoon, a US State Department Fulbright Senior English Teaching Assistant Grantee to Malaysia, who was assigned to the third defendant for the 2015/2016 academic year, said Siti Nafirah.

She said on April 28, the same year, the fifth defendant through his two officers, were notified by Ibrahim that: As of date, the first defendant has been absent from his designated duty to teach the English subject to 4PD since February 2015; the second defendant has not taken any action regarding the first defendant’s absenteeism despite being notified of the same since April 2015; The affected students have made their grievances known to Ibrahim.

On June 17, 2015, the fourth defendant was given further notice of the absence of the first defendant when Ibrahim contacted one Bees Satoh, who was at the material time District English Language Officer (DELO), regarding the lack of action taken by the fourth defendant, despite having notice of the first defendant’s failure to attend the 4PD classes for five months.

On July 29, 2015, during a meeting called by the officers of the fifth defendant, the first defendant’s absenteeism was brought up by Head of English Department in the said school and that an officer of the fifth defendant, admitted that he was aware of absent English teachers at the said third defendant school

Siti Nafirah further claimed that sometime in July 2015, the other class was assigned a new English teacher and she, together with other students of 4PD, after noticing this, requested someone to speak with school administrators to assign them a new English teacher.

On Aug 6, the same year, the second defendant was once again notified of the first defendant’s absenteeism. This time, the second defendant sighted copies of class attendance records which showed the first defendant’s absenteeism.

On Aug 7, the fourth defendant through his officer, received a report from the Head of English Department of the said school regarding the first defendant’s absenteeism, but no action was taken against the first defendant.

On Aug, the sixth and seventh defendants, though their officer was notified of the first defendant’s absenteeism through an email and was also notified of the apparent lack of action by the second, fourth and fifth defendants regarding the said Absenteeism. On Aug 10, the fifth defendant through his officer, again received notice of the first defendant’s absenteeism through the Head of English Department’s Fulbright monthly report and as of date, the plaintiff has had no English teacher for seven months.

On Aug 17, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh defendants, through their officers visited the third defendant school and met with the second defendant but they failed to address the first defendant’s absenteeism and this visit prompted the first defendant to enter the plaintiff’s class for one week. After which, he continued his absenteeism.

he plaintiff also claimed that she was informed by someone that officials from the fourth, fifth and sixth defendant were at school and she expressed her desire to talk to the officials regarding the impact of the absenteeism of the first defendant but the officials refused to meet with her.

On Aug 18, the second defendant had a meeting attended by all English teachers in the said school including the first defendant and during the meeting, the first defendant failed to explain his absenteeism when confronted by the Head of English Department and that the second defendant also refused to discuss the issue of absent teachers during the meeting, despite the same being brought up for discussion.

On Aug 24, a meeting was held at the office of the fourth defendant and was attended by, among others, the first, second defendants and officers of the fourth defendants.

During the meeting, the second defendant claimed that he was only notified of the first defendant’s absenteeism two weeks prior to the meeting and that the fourth defendant also denied knowledge of the first defendant’s absenteeism.

The fourth defendant instructed that a two-week self-observation of English teachers be conducted at the third defendant school.

The plaintiff further claimed that on Sept 9, the same year officers of the fourth defendants visited the said school and once again refused to discuss the issue of teacher absenteeism despite the same being brought up for discussion by someone

On or about October 2015, the second defendant met with the 4PD students including the plaintiff, in which during the meeting, the second defendant intimidatingly questions the students regarding first defendant.

After hearing the response from the students, the second defendant then proposed a deal, where he will arrange for an English teacher to teach their class for the remaining academic year, in exchange for them to write favourable words about the first defendant and also to claim responsibility for the lack of an English teacher during the year.

The plaintiff claimed that, out of fear and the desperate want for an English teacher, the students of 4PD, including her, accepted the second defendant’s offer.

On or about October 2015, the first defendant fabricated his attendance record under the instruction of the second defendant. Consequently, the attendance records then showed that the first defendant was only absent for two months.

The plaintiff claimed that the first defendant continued to be absent from 4PD which were at the material time was without a teacher for seven months.

The first defendant entered 4PD for a duration of one week in October 2015 after the visit by officials of the fourth, fifth and sixth defendant on Aug 17 and then refused to teach them again.

The plaintiff claimed that the first defendant was in breach of Regulations 3A and 23 of Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 for his absence during the said Absenteeism and his failure to perform his duty as the English Language teacher for 4PD.

She also claimed, among others that the second, fourth and fifth defendants had known or ought to have known that they are duty bound under Regulation 3C(1) Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 to take appropriate action upon being notified of the first defendant absence during the said Absenteeism.

Accordingly, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eights defendants are in breach of their statutory duty under Regulation 3C(2) Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

She also claimed that the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seven and eight defendants was at all material times under a duty to ensure that the students of 4PD, including her are to receive quality education, a right protected by Article 5 read together with Article 12 of the Federal Constitution.

The plaintiff also claimed that at all material times the defendants were aware that their acts were unlawful and would cause the injury and losses to her and also have violated her constitutional right to education.

She said the defendants, except the third defendant, were negligently and/or in breach of their Statutory Duty and/or committed misfeasance in public office.

The first defendant, she claimed failed to attend and teach English classes during the said Absenteeism and also claimed that the second defendant failed to take any reasonable steps to ensure that the first defendant taught the 4PD students and that with the knowledge that such failure would result the 4PD students not being prepared for the examination as prescribed by or under the Education Act.

The plaintiff is therefore, seeking among others a declaration that the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh and eight defendants are in breach of their statutory duty under the Education Act by failing to; ensure that she is taught the English language during the period of February 2015 to Oct 2015; prepare her for examinations as prescribed under the Education Act

She also seeking a declaration that the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh and eight defendants are in breach of their duty under Regulation 3C, 25, 26 Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1913; a declaration that the act complained off by the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh and eight defendants amounted to misfeasance in public office;

by Jo Ann Mool.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=128393


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