Monday, January 30

Student sues teacher for not teaching her English lessons in 2015


Siti Nafi­rah holds her writ­ten state­ment

KOTA KIN­A­BALU: Siti Nafi­rah, a na­tive of Kota Be­lud, had filed a civil suit against the English teacher and seven oth­ers, in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ment and Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, for re­fus­ing to teach English lessons to her and her Form Four class­mates in 2015.

In the writ of sum­mons, filed at the High Court Reg­istry through Messrs Rox­ana and Co on Oc­to­ber 16, plain­tiff, Siti Nafi­rah had named Mohd Jainal Jam­ran (the teacher), Hj Suid Hj Hanapi (prin­ci­pal of SMK Taun Gusi), the school SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Be­lud dis­trict ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer, Sabah ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of ed­u­ca­tion Malaysia, min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion Malaysia and the Gov­ern­ment of Malaysia as the first, sec­ond, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, sev­enth and eighth de­fen­dants re­spec­tively.

The plain­tiff is seek­ing, among oth­ers, a dec­la­ra­tion that the first, sec­ond, fourth, fifth, sev­enth and eighth de­fen­dants were in breach of their statu­tory duty un­der the Ed­u­ca­tion Act by fail­ing to: en­sure that she is taught the English lan­guage dur­ing the pe­riod from Fe­bru­ary 2015 to Oc­to­ber 2015; pre­pare her for ex­am­i­na­tions as pre­scribed un­der the Ed­u­ca­tion Act. She is also seek­ing a dec­la­ra­tion that the sec­ond, fourth and fifth de­fen­dants were in breach of their du­ties un­der Reg­u­la­tion 3C, 25, 26 of the Public Of­fi­cers (Con­duct and Dis­ci­pline) Reg­u­la­tions 1993; a dec­la­ra­tion that the acts of the first, sec­ond, fourth, fifth and sixth de­fen­dants amounted to mis­fea­sance in public of­fice.

The plain­tiff is also seek­ing a dec­la­ra­tion that the first, sec­ond, fourth, fifth, sixth, sev­enth and eighth de­fen­dants have vi­o­lated her con­sti­tu­tional rights to ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion guar­an­teed to her un­der Ar­ti­cle 5, read to­gether with Ar­ti­cle 12 of the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion, and dam­ages, costs and any fur­ther and other re­liefs which the court may deem fit to grant.

The suit will be heard on Novem­ber 19 this year at the High Court here.

Fight­ing for the rights of high school stu­dents of SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Be­lud for de­cent English lessons, the ex-stu­dent said the cul­ture of teach­ers not at­tend­ing class, threat­en­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing stu­dents should be stopped im­me­di­ately.

Nafi­rah, 19, in a press con­fer­ence yesterday, said she was a Form Four stu­dent of Class 4 Perda­gan­gan (4 PD) at the school in 2015 where she felt mis­treated by her male teacher, who did not at­tend class for English lessons for about seven months.

She said the teacher did not come to the class since Fe­bru­ary 2015 and caused stu­dents in the class, in­clud­ing her, a lot of pres­sure be­cause they feared they would fail in English in their ex­am­i­na­tion.

Af­ter be­ing ab­sent for sev­eral months, she said the teacher ap­peared be­fore them right be­fore the year-end ex­am­i­na­tion be­gan. She claimed that all the stu­dents in the class had failed in English sub­ject in the exam.

“To­day, I rose to raise the voice of our gen­er­a­tion who had been in si­lence. I am rep­re­sent­ing the gen­er­a­tion of students, call­ing on all stu­dents in Malaysia to dare to de­fend their ed­u­ca­tional rights with­out fear and favour.”

“A school is a place for teach­ers to teach, stu­dents to learn. How­ever, with teach­ers who deny the stu­dents of their right to ed­u­ca­tion and prin­ci­pals who are will­ing to cheat just to main­tain their rep­u­ta­tion, our ed­u­ca­tional rights, dreams and hopes are be­ing de­stroyed just like that.”

“At the state level, I hope that the ed­u­ca­tional rights of ev­ery stu­dent through­out Malaysia will be pri­or­i­tized. Never again this kind of mis­treat­ment. When a teacher does not at­tend classes, it de­stroys our ed­u­ca­tion and our fu­ture.

“I want to em­pha­size here. I love all the hard-work­ing teach­ers, ed­u­cat­ing and teach­ing us. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the sac­ri­fices of my teach­ers. We all need a car­ing and ded­i­cated teach­ers like you all. My frus­tra­tion is the teacher who stole our rights, which did not teach us well so much so we failed the exam,” she said dur­ing the press con­fer­ence which was held at Pa­cos Trust meet­ing room in Dong­gongon, Pe­nam­pang.

She also claimed that the male teacher who did not at­tend the English class in the school was pro­tected by the school with no ac­tion taken be­ing against him. Cur­rently, the teacher is still in the school and not at­tend­ing class to teach.

There­fore, she ques­tioned the school for keep­ing silent. This has de­nied the stu­dents of their ed­u­ca­tional rights to ed­u­ca­tion.

She also ques­tioned the ac­count­abil­ity of all par­ties in the case, the prin­ci­pal who did not take ac­tion, the Dis­trict Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cer and the state Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment for keep­ing silent.

She read aloud her writ­ten speech, “Teach­ers lose noth­ing if they don’t teach; stu­dents lose ev­ery­thing if they don’t learn” which high­lighted the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion the stu­dents hoped to achieve in or­der to change and steer away from poverty.

“With­out teach­ers, we can­not suc­ceed, we fail to achieve our goals. With­out teach­ers, we lost di­rec­tion, we lost ed­u­ca­tion. With­out ed­u­ca­tion, our lives are de­spi­ca­ble and mean­ing­less.

“At SMK Taun Gusi, most of the stu­dents come from poor and needy fam­ily. At the school too, most teach­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced hard­ship and poverty when they were stu­dents like us. Now they are all suc­cess­ful and their lives are bet­ter be­cause they re­ceived good ed­u­ca­tion.”

“To the teach­ers who abuse us, who stole our ed­u­ca­tional rights, we also want to learn. We also want to suc­ceed and im­prove our fam­ily life.”

“For the sake of the fu­ture of our gen­er­a­tion, what is more im­por­tant than a teacher in teach­ing a class?” she asked.

Also present at the press con­fer­ence were her lawyer, Rox­ana Ja­maludin and her as­sis­tant Ju­bili Ani­lik.