PUTRAJAYA, Oct 19 — The Education Ministry has made it mandatory for organisers of teambuilding programmes for schools to table the contents of the training modules to the District Education Department (PPD) concerned.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the organisers, including agencies from other ministries, must first brief the relevant PPD on the contents of the training modules before permission is given to the school to take part in the programme.
“The ministry allows teambuilding programmes, to build pupils or students’ self-confidence, to continue but must not involve matters which can traumatise them,” he told a media conference after attending his ministry’s monthly gathering here today.
Mahdzir, who issued the directive following an incident during such a programme in Perak that involved the use of snakes, said it was in order to avoid an unsuitable training module which used an excessive fear factor.
In the recording of the incident which became viral, a group of female pupils were seen crying and screaming after snakes were thrown into a muddy pool they were crossing. Water was also poured on them and they were harshly addressed as one of the tests to challenge their bravery under the module.
Commenting on the incident, Mahdzir said it should not have happened if the organiser had complied with the standard operating procedures (SOP) of the teambuilding programmes organised by the ministry.
Taking the Student Integration Plan For Unity (Rimup) organised by the ministry as an example, he said the SOPs of the programme stipulated that the activity focused on efforts to strengthen unity in the young and multi-racial generations in the country.
On the pupils involved in the incident, he said the Perak Education Department and Kuala Kangsar PPD had taken early measures including counselling them to tackle their trauma.
On the issue of bullying, Mahdzir said there was a misunderstanding on the ministry’s proposal to suspend students who bully other students for a year.
He said the suspension period only involved the current year the case takes place and would not be brought over to the next year.
“If the offence is committed in June 2016, the case is only effective until December the same year, and not brought forward until June 2017 to complete the one-year punishment period,” he said. — Bernama