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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2004   :  UG Schools Dec 2004

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UGANDA

School CP - December 2004



Corpun file 14765

masthead
The New Vision, Kampala, 1 December 2004

Cane Pupils to Boost Academics - Parents

By Patrick Sserugo
Kampala

THE regulation that bars teachers from caning pupils has been criticised by parents.

Parents in Gomba county in Mpigi district have asked state minister for primary education Namirembe Bitamazire to abolish the regulation, saying pupils were performing poorly because they were not caned.

Bitamazire met the parents at Kanoni trading centre, Kyegonza sub-county in Gomba recently.

Residents asked Bitamazire to table a bill in parliament to make canning [sic] optional.

Bitamazire, however, said the regulation could not be reversed, citing instances where pupils had died due to irresponsible modes of punishment by teachers.

She blamed children's indiscipline on parents who poorly raised them.

She urged parents to discipline children before they go to school.

Copyright 2004 New Vision. All rights reserved.



Corpun file 14737

masthead
The New Vision, Kampala, 6 December 2004

Analysis

Should Caning Be Reintroduced?

By John Eremu
Kampala

THERE is a big debate going on as to whether caning should remain banned, not only in schools but also in the homes.

In Britain, the Guardian newspapers reported in its July 2004 edition that an unlikely alliance of lawyers, childcare professionals and politicians joined forces to condemn as unworkable, plans to jail parents who administer anything stronger than a light smack to their children.

At home here, parents of Gomba sub-county in Mpigi district last week petitioned Geraldine Bitamazire, the state minister for primary education, to table a Bill in Parliament to make caning optional. They said the absence of the cane in schools was responsible for the poor performance.

Kasese district chairman, Yokasi Bihande has not waited for such a law to be passed first. Last month, he directed parents and teachers to resume caning of children, saying too much freedom to the young was a major contributor to indiscipline.

The teachers have complained that the ban had made enforcing discipline very difficult because the students are now rebellious and treat the punishment as an assault. A senior teacher in a leading Kampala school said guided caning, as a form of corrective punishment, should remain.

He said banning caning would be giving a license to students to even challenge other forms of punishment. He said the other forms of punishment were time consuming, difficult to administer and do not have the desired deterrent impact. "Caning is the most convenient and quickest form of punishment and is feared," argued the teacher.

A parent, who preferred anonymity said supervised caning, as a disciplinary measure, was fine, provided an explanation is first given to the offender and the punishment is not administered in anger.

But human rights activist Livingstone Sewanyana and psychologists would not take any of the above arguments. Sewanyana, the executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, says corporal punishment was a form of torture outlawed even under Article 24 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution. The article states that: "No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

"That kind of punishment has an element of violence and can be misapplied because we have had cases where teachers and parents mistreated children to the extent of even killing," Sewanyana said.

Francis Eboyu, a lecturer at the Makerere University Institute of Psychology, says all forms of punishments, caning inclusive, have different outcomes.

The first is that, the one to whom the punishment is administered may actually abandon the unwanted behaviour, but he could also modify the behaviour without necessarily changing.

"For instance, a child caned for stealing sugar after sugar crystals were discovered on his or her lips may modify his behaviour in future and not leave any traces of sugar on the lips, but that does not mean he or she has stopped stealing.

Eboyu said children should instead be counselled and helped to overcome the unwanted behaviour other than resorting to the cane.

Yusuf Nsubuga, the commissioner for secondary education and Moses Otyek, the deputy director of the Education Standards Agency, say corporal punishment remains banned because it is usually administered in anger.

"By the time a teacher picks a stick to cane a pupil, he or she is already annoyed and can administer the punishment uncontrollably. Moreover a child's IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is not determined by the number of strokes a child gets, but by how well the child is handled," Otyek said in a recent interview.

Copyright 2004 New Vision. All rights reserved.




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