Hiring checks for non-teaching staff in primary schools and safeguards in place for students

Published Date: 10 May 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, Chua Chu Kang GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) what are the background checks conducted prior to the hiring of non-teaching staff who may come into contact with students in primary schools; and (b) what are the safeguards in place to ensure that schools remain a safe environment for students.

Response

1. The safety of our students is of paramount importance to MOE. As part of the hiring process, MOE conducts pre-employment checks on all prospective employees who are considered for non-teaching staff positions in schools. These include screening the applicants with the Police and conducting reference checks with their previous employers or referees.

2. MOE has a set of guidelines on how MOE officers, including non-teaching staff are expected to conduct themselves professionally. These are communicated to our staff regularly to ensure they understand the expectations. MOE takes a very serious view of any misconduct by staff that may impinge on the safety and well-being of students. Where there is indication of improper behaviour, the case will be thoroughly investigated, and disciplinary actions taken accordingly, or if need be, referred to the Police for their investigations. In severe cases, the offending officers will be suspended from service or re-deployed to non-student facing roles while investigations take place. Schools will continue to strengthen the communication and engagement with our staff on the Code of Conduct, make explicit the professional boundaries in their interactions with students as well as step up vigilance to safeguard and protect our students.

3. Students also learn about personal safety and protection from abuse through the Character and Citizenship Education curriculum. These lessons start from Primary 1 and are reinforced throughout their years in school. Schools also help students recognise that they can seek help from trusted adults when there is risk of their personal safety being compromised. Our teachers, School Counsellors and Student Welfare Officers are also trained, and look out for signs of distress in students so as to support them where necessary.

Share this article: