malaysia

NUTP: Keep schools free of politics

A screenshot of SK Putrajaya Presint 14(1) pupils waving the Umno flag during the event, where they also sang the party’s official song.A screenshot of SK Putrajaya Presint 14(1) pupils waving the Umno flag during the event, where they also sang the party’s official song.

PETALING JAYA, Oct 5 — Schools should avoid using flags and having their students sing political party songs during events to avoid being labelled as politically biased.

National Union of Teaching Profession president Kamarozaman Abd Razak said including political elements in the curriculum could cause disharmony and unrest among teachers, parents and students. 

“Schools should not be highlighting the flags or songs of any political party during events. 

“They have to be impartial in such areas and should not be looking to press their political stand onto students, teachers or parents,” he said. 

Kamarozaman said although the contents of the history subject did mention the contributions of political parties, schools had to be impartial when it came to politics.

He was responding to a video circulated on social media purportedly showing students of SK Putrajaya Presint 14(1) singing the Umno song while waving flags during a class-decorating competition. 

The competition, themed “Umno and Independence”, was attended by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who had also encouraged teachers in his speech at the school to join the party.

Kamarozaman said such situations put teachers and school managements in a dilemma since themed events were organised by the government. 

“When we get instructions from the ministry itself to organise such events, we are caught in a fix because it is ultimately a government school run by the ruling coalition. 

“We will end up following orders which could cause disharmony. This could lead to confusion and misrepresent the school and its teachers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said her organisation had from the start advocated education to be free of politics.

She said educators were expected to nurture and guide children to protect them from political opportunists hijacking school events.

“It is regrettable innocent schoolchildren are made pawns in political games that adults play,” she said.

Noor Azimah said the Putrajaya school incident confirmed the ministry’s efforts to make national schools the first choice of parents were rapidly eroding as they may be perceived as political hotbeds.

The video has caused ire among opposition MPs and netizens, with some MPs even labelling such schools as “indoctrination camps”. 

School headmaster Mohd Amin Hamzah was reported as saying it had done nothing wrong and that the display of party flags and singing its songs was not an obvious sign of politicisation.

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