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School CP - September 2006

Corpun file 18294

Fiji Times, 1 September 2006

Methodists support corporal punishment

By Reijeli Kikau and Solomoni Biumaiono

Nasoni Valu of Nabouwalu, Bua is flanked by Reverend Sakiusa Kuruduadua, left, and Reverend Sakiusa Vakadewatabua during the meeting in Bau yesterday.
Photograph By: Sitiveni Moce

THE Methodist Church in Fiji endorses the use of corporal punishment in its schools because it believes it is necessary for the control of children who misbehave.

Church assistant general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu said the church was against the intention by the Save the Children Fund to totally abolish the use of corporal punishment.

"The church opposes the abolishment of corporal punishment because the church was not consulted on the issue and it should be understood that the church represents the predominant group who know of the effective use of corporal punishment," he said.

He was speaking at the church's annual conference on Bau Island yesterday.

He said the church also believed in disciplining the children with love which is based on the Bible from the book of Proverbs 29; 15.

Mr Waqairatu said the motion, which was tabled yesterday, caused quite a debate among the members and most of them did not agree to the abolishment.

"We are looking at the total discipline of Fijian children because it is too quick to withdraw corporal punishment.

"Corporal punishment has a position with the way of the life of the developing nations like the third world countries like Fiji. We see the authority of parents at home when there is corporal punishment," he said.

Mr Waqairatu said the increase in other social problems including crimes could be caused by the lack of discipline at home and lack of spiritual life in the home combined with very poor educational background.

"The child does not know what is the best way for him in future, the parents have lived the life of a child, youth and as adults and they know the direction and when the child should be disciplined."

He said it was important that when punishment was given, it must be accompanied with clear and good explanation and the child should know why they were being punished.

The Fijian Teachers Association supported the stance taken by the Methodist Church and said that a degree of corporal punishment was still needed in schools.

Association general secretary Maika Namudu said his union had always maintained that corporal punishment should still be used in schools.

"However, we say that only the headteacher or the principal should be allowed to dish out corporal punishment and we do not condone slapping or the use of sticks," Mr Namudu said.

Another teachers' union the Fiji Teachers Union said the position adopted by the Methodist Church held no merit because it was unconstitutional.

FTU general secretary Agni Deo Singh said corporal punishment had been outlawed and declared illegal in the education system after a high court ruling.

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