KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Despite its explanation, the Education Ministry continued to come under fire from some parents of the SMK Infant Jesus Convent in Johor over a workshop for students who will be sitting for their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
In a joint statement, eight members of the secondary school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) asserted that there were discrepancies between the ministry’s explanations and what they had been told by SMK Infant Jesus Convent’s principal Ande Noor Munawarah Bachok, news portal The Vibes reported today.
“We find the ministry’s statement released yesterday inconsistent with what had been told to us by Ande Noor when queried about it earlier.
“Both Phase One and Phase Two of these workshops were never discussed at PTA meetings, nor was approval sought for the use of funds for them,” the parents were quoted as saying in their joint statement.
The news portal reported the parents accusing the authorities of committing a “serious breach of trust” and called on the PTA and school administration to avoid further discriminating against the students based on their race and religion by ensuring collaboration and transparency in future planning and communication.
Yesterday, Johor Education, Information and Communications Committee chairman Norlizah Noh said that the SPM workshop did not ignore or discriminate against the religion and ethnicity of students.
“Through the explanation given by the school and in line with the statement issued by the Ministry of Education, the programme that was run by the school did not ignore or discriminate against the religion and ethnicity of students.
“Therefore, I urge all parties to refrain from expressing their personal opinions on social media because this issue can result in a disharmonious atmosphere especially in the state of Johor,” she said in a Facebook post.
The issue stems from a post that went viral on Twitter alleging that discrimination had occurred in an SPM workshop organised by SMK Infant Jesus Convent that was held at Hotel Suasana in Johor.
Twitter user @sangria200 claimed that the school had announced that the SPM workshops were ostensibly to prepare students sitting for Islamic religious studies, only to find out later that other subjects were also covered, like chemistry and additional mathematics.
“When disgruntled parents sought explanation on the school PIBG chatgroup, school Principal promptly shut down the convo,” the Twitter user claimed, referring to the school's PTA chatgroup.