Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tawau teacher political leaning survey also in KL

A directive which was sent out by the Tawau education office for school heads to record their staff's political leanings is also likely to have been issued to schools in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysiakini was informed that teachers in a primary school in the city were made to label themselves black, grey or white according to their political leanings, just as in Tawau.

According to a teacher speaking on condition of anonymity, the incident happened last month.

"Yes, the survey was similar to the one in Tawau. A list of teachers' names and columns-white for government, black for opposition and grey for unsure-for us to tick," she said.

The teacher does not know if the survey was directed by the ministry or education offices, but suspected that the survey was conducted at the school as it is an opposition-held area.

university students 050805 in classroomHowever, teachers in several other schools within opposition held areas in the capital randomly contacted yesterday said no such thing had happened there.
If the directive in Kuala Lumpur was similar to that in Tawau, teachers could likely be kept in the dark as school heads were specifically instructed to gauge their staff's political leanings themselves without involving the teachers.

No directive from ministry

When contacted, a Federal Territories Education Department official said that she knows of no such directive to schools, but advised the portal to call back next week for an official response.

"The director is currently out of town," she said.

Deputy Education Minister Puad Zarkashi, too, said that the ministry had not issues such a directive.

"There is no directive. The ministry is not involved, I have checked," he said in a text message.

He also denied ministry involvement in a separate survey, found to have been distributed to teachers in Selangor, which gauges the anonymous respondents' political views with more subtlety.

Last week Malaysiakini reported that the Tawau education office had retracted its directive, after it was leaked on the Internet, saying that it was a "mistake".

District education officer Darman Shah Asakil said it was not a state or ministry directive, but a Tawau district office initiative to encourage teachers to focus on their teaching.

~ Malaysiakini

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