Wednesday, July 8

No problems foreseen with complaint boxes in schools

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KUCHING: Most secondary schools and some primary schools in Sarawak have installed complaint boxes on school premises to collect students’ input anonymously.

SMK Padawan is among them.

A complaint box has been located in the school for more than a decade. There have not been any problems arising from the practice nor have any big cases been discovered by the school through information deposited in the box.

According to Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) president Jisin Nyud who was a teacher there, there were only a few complaints and all of them were actually trivial cases of students complaining about other parties bothering them.

“SMK Padawan has it (complaint box) since a long time ago. We have no problem with it. The purpose of setting up a complaint box is to help the school to rectify whatever is not right.

“However, until now, the school has never received information (over incidences) such as bullying, drug or home abuse cases. There were very few complaints and whatever complaints received were trivial quarrel cases such as students complaining about another one disturbing (ganggu) them,” Jisin told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He supported the new initiative by Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid to place complaint boxes in all secondary and primary schools.

“We have been doing it. There is no problem. There is no backfire or whatsoever. And I think it is necessary because now with students’ access to social media, students are exposed to the vices that come with social media. We do need more ways to know what the students are getting up to.”

Jisin said perhaps with the official instruction from the Education Ministry, students can be told to treat the complaint box more seriously.

“Yes, it would be a good way for students to let the school authorities know what other students are up to before something really bad happens to some students who are getting into trouble,” Jisin said.

He made these remarks in response to the Education Minister’s instruction to all schools in the country to provide complaint boxes for students to volunteer information confidentially to help keep student misconduct in check, especially involvement in crime.

In response to the news, an online news portal however, pointed out that it would backfire and be abused by creating a culture of backstabbing or tattling amongst students. To this, Jisin said from his experience, this would not happen as SMK Padawan has been practising it (complaint box) for more than 10 years and no such incidence had ever happened.

Meanwhile, Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the intention for such an instruction was for improvement purposes.

“It is an effective way to get feedback from parents and students without revealing their identities. This is a good way for self-improvement of the schools,” she said.

She believed that complaint boxes would be an effective way to improve the welfare and management of schools as a whole.