Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teachers to be consulted on new code of conduct

Sandra Davie
The Straits Times
Sat Jan 5 2013

SINGAPORE - It is important to maintain the trust that parents have in educators, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, noting that over the next few weeks, school heads will be consulting teachers on the new code of conduct drawn up by the ministry.

His comments last Wednesday came after several cases of teacher misconduct made the news last year, including a 32-year-old female teacher who was jailed for having sex with a 15-year-old male student in her school.

In the most recent case, former River Valley High School principal Steven Koh is being probed by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

The issue is believed to centre on travel agencies set up in schools under his watch.

Mr Heng said that despite the scandals, many parents remain confident of educators and added that the teaching profession will "emerge out of this stronger".

He said much thought had gone into drawing up the code and ministry officials have done extensive consultation for over a year and also looked at codes used in other countries.

"So I think it is a good set of documents which will serve as a baseline document that would guide our educators," he noted.

The new Code of Professional Conduct for Educators incorporates two documents currently used by teachers - the Civil Service Instruction Manuals and the Ministry of Education internal conduct guidelines.

It will also focus on the teaching ethos, which is a set of professional beliefs, practices and conduct.

Areas covered in the new code will include maintaining professional educator-student relationships and the dos and don'ts on social websites.

There are about 33,000 teachers in schools.

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