HMs must be righteous

I READ with interest your article “School head-aches” (StarEducation, April 4) and would like to comment on some aspects. The principal or head teacher must have special qualities. Not every teacher can be at the top.

One important quality that a school head must have is to have a good working relationship with teachers and other colleagues. There are some amongst them that you may dislike, yet as a head, you have to accept them for what they are. Learn to include them in a way that they can serve the school well.

Abuse of power as pointed out by the writer is common. From minor infringements to criminal acts, principals and heads of schools have at times violated the trust given to them.

This is part of the unsavoury culture that has permeated every sector of Malaysian life! It is also the biggest challenge faced by those who are sincere about cleaning up the act so that there is change and progress.

Why do the honest often fear to report the evil doers? The whole system is thoroughly flawed. Any complaint or report will result in a backlash to the whistle-blowers.

Enough evidence must be presented to substantiate any report. Sometimes, such evidence is hard to come by. We all know what is going on but do we have proof of such wrong doings?

Many honest school heads cannot spill the beans on his or her fellow colleagues because of the lack of evidence. There are school principals who are tempted with “offers” but that does not mean that all of them accept such “offers”.

Whether one is corrupt or not, will depend on one’s moral values. Sales people are prepared to share their “winnings” with the party who has facilitated the sale or business.

There are school heads who initiate various money-making projects when it is obvious that such projects do not benefit the students directly.

On the pretext of improving academic excellence, they encourage students to buy numerous workbooks that not only burden parents who have to fork out more money, but also teachers and students who are dumped with additional work.

All this is done because a percentage of the profits, derived from the sale of workbooks, is supposedly offered to the school head.

Abuses as pointed out in the article, also take the form of taking on additional responsibilities or chores to please the school principals or heads. Many teachers carry out these additional chores willingly so that they can be rewarded with promotions and better perks.

However, this is unnecessary work that should be given to clerks and those in the administrative services.

School heads have the ability to simplify work for teachers who need to concentrate on teaching.

I must say that a principal’s job is by no means an easy one. Those who take on the job of a school head should carry out all tasks to the best of their ability.

The Education Ministry must on its part, carry out regular evaluation to ensure only the best remain. In my years of service in the education sector, I have seen all kinds of school administrators and they range from the best to the worst.

There is still so much to be done before the rot consumes us all. I am glad your newspaper has come out honestly with this article.

by Victor Chew.

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