Corpun file 21370
Cape Argus, Cape Town, 17 March 2009
Smacking favoured as best punishment -- survey
By Ilse Fredericks
CANING or similar punishment at schools was banned in 1996 -
but people in the Western Cape have no qualms about reintroducing
this form of discipline, a new study has revealed.
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) data revealed that
while most - 91 percent - of respondents chose
"reasoning" or "discussion" as their
preferred discipline method, in this province 63 percent of those
surveyed said it would be a good idea to have the option of
smacking and caning pupils.
The study, prompted by an upswing in violence at schools, was to
examine attitudes to various disciplinary methods. It was
conducted by Dr Mbithi wa Kivilu, head of the HSRC's
Socio-Economic Surveys, and Muchiri Wandai, a post-graduate
student in Biostatistics in Public Health at the University of
While 91 percent preferred reasoning with pupils, 81 percent
selected as their second option giving pupils extra learning
tasks as punishment.
Physical labour, like sweeping, was the least supported method of
discipline with only 33 percent of respondents indicating
support, while 51 percent said they supported keeping pupils in
The study showed that white respondents were least likely to
support reasoning or discussion as a means of discipline.
About 72 percent of white respondents and 62 percent of coloured
respondents supported the use of corporal punishment, compared to
only 35 percent of Indians and Asians and 48 percent of black
Women and respondents who did not consider themselves to belong
to any religion were less likely than men, or respondents who
were religious, to support corporal punishment.
The study was conducted over four years and included 4 980
respondents in 2003, 5 583 in 2004, 2 850 in 2005, and 2 904 in
On Friday, Education MEC Yousuf Gabru said South Africa needed to
find alternative methods of discipline to corporal punishment. He
was speaking at an event during which the Torch of Peace, a
symbol of the campaign to combat violence against women and
children, was handed over to the Western Cape by a Free State
Education Department representative.
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Country files: Corporal punishment in South African schools
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