Recently, there were a few news reports about misconduct by
teachers. Some people asked if this could be prevented by
careful selection of teachers.
We should not expect ready made solutions to
all of our problems. Those who have been involved in selecting people
for jobs will know the limitations of any selection process.
The Minister for Education Heng Swee Kiat has promised to deal
with complaints seriously and to investigate every case of alleged
I wish to point out some potential risks of this approach:
a) Some teachers could be the target of unjustified allegations,
especially if they are made anonymously.
b) There are situations where the parent or student may wish
to remain anonymous to the target of the complaint
c) A person may be sincere in a behavior which another
party may consider to be offensive.
In the old days, a person in higher authority, for example a
principal, may be willing to make the judgment and handle
the complaint in a sensible manner. In many cases, an advisory or
warning may be appropriate for first time infringements.
I am not sure if most people in authority are willing or competent
to take this responsibility today.
An investigation, especially if made known to the public, should only be
reserved for repeated or more serious cases.
We must be aware of a tendency for the public to judge a person
as being guilty just because a complaint had been lodged or an
I hope that, in our drive for perfection, we should not forget
the common sense approach towards solving our