New Straits Times
Exco man: It's meant to boost boys' confidence
KUALA TERENGGANU: The Student Personality Development Programme carried out by the Terengganu Education Department aims to boost the confidence of male students facing an identity crisis.
State Education, Higher Education, Science, Technology and Human Resources Committee chairman Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said yesterday the department had taken a proactive approach by implementing the programme involving 66 male students in Besut last week, Bernama reports.
"This is an initiative that we have taken in response to the call by the Education Ministry for schools to emphasise four aspects of development — physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual.
"We have taken an early step towards realising this by identifying male students who are not active in associations, uniformed bodies or sports to join the personality development programme."
He was commenting on a New Sunday Times report quoting several psychologists who said they feared that the camp would put pressure on the students.
Razif said he was disappointed with the perception that the course was for effeminate students, which had resulted in the participants feeling uncomfortable, with some getting teased by their peers.
"We only held a course to build students' character. We held the first phase of the programme last week and will carry out the programme state-wide later because we not only want students to excel in their studies, but also in sports and other co-curricular activities."
In Kuala Lumpur, the Terengganu Education Department has been urged to consider the views of professionals when conducting boot camps to "correct" the behaviour of effeminate schoolboys.
"If these schoolboys' behaviour is due to biological factors, such camps would cause more harm than good," said Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
Lee was responding to child psychiatrist Dr Subash Kumar Pillai and Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Medicine chartered psychologist Prof Dr Low Wah Yun's views.
"The two doctors' input holds merit," said Lee in a telephone interview.
He said he agreed that the "corrective camp" activities could have detrimental effects on the boys' mental health, even pushing some to be suicidal.