Full-day classes can curb social ills among youths, says criminologist

Image via The Star
FULL-DAY school system is the way to go to prevent students from getting involved in social ills, especially gangsterism, in the near future.

Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy said a full-day school system would be beneficial because after lunch, students will delve into sports, recreational and extra-curricular programmes instead of unsavoury activities.

He was commenting on the two recent viral videos showing motorcyclists causing a commotion outside a school. In the videos, the group is seen shouting and revving motorcycle engines as well as holding up banners, one of which bears the characters “24”, “TD4” and a black swastika.

Dr Sundramoorthy said it was typical in developing and developed nations to see triads spreading their wings to school students located in urban and semi-urban areas.

“About 70% of our population live in urban and semi-urban areas and most triad activities thrive there.

“Secondary school students are easy targets. Most of these teenagers come from families where both parents are working and therefore parental supervision is minimal.

“In addition, by joining triads, they gain a false sense of security and feel that they are untouchable,” he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy said this “macho” feeling was very desirable among teenagers who came from problematic homes.

Sometimes they got involved in selling cigarettes, alcohol and other contraband to get their pocket money, which they might not be getting enough from home.

“Most of these teenagers are easy targets because of the fact that they have older friends and relatives who are already active triad members.

“There is no doubt that movies influence their behaviour and choices they make.

“More so with YouTube, these teenagers are able to access recordings of triad and violent activities. The excitement is a turn on for them,” he added.

Studies from various parts of the world have shown that school-going children involved in triad activities come from lower socio-economic segments.

Many come from highly populated neighbourhoods, poor to lower middle class, and have zero accessibility to sports and other legitimate recreational activities.

In addition, Dr Sundramoorthy urged the education ministry to replace moral education classes with a course in human social behaviour.

“Teach them about crime prevention, anti-drug use, sex education, ethics and integrity, social issues, social etiquette and culture from Year 3 to Form Five.

“The government must convert all schools into full-day schools and build additional schools. This will surely reduce social ills, especially gangsterism in the country,” he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy added that parents too should play a part.

“We are obviously not born with parenting skills. Parenting and family life course must be made mandatory for those planning to get married,” he said.

Every secondary school, he added, must be assigned to a police officer from the district and the police officer in charge of the school must be equipped with relevant information about the school, teachers and children.

“They must also understand the socio-demographic characteristics of the community where the school is located and constantly assess the risks that are susceptible to that area.

“Currently, police crime prevention and community safety officers are assigned to these tasks but it is not sufficient.

“Every police officer in the district from other departments must also be given the task of supervising schools,” he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy said the country had sufficient laws to deal with triads but at the end of the day, the will must be there among all police officers to stop triad activities.

“They can effectively prevent the future generation from being corrupted and destroyed by triads,” he said.

Source: The Star

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