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School CP - May 2004

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The East African Standard, Nairobi, 13 May 2004

Ps Decries Abuse in Schools

By Moses Njagi And Evelyne Ogutu
in Nairobi

Corporal punishment is still being meted out in schools in total disregard of a Government ban a year ago.

The Education Permanent Secretary, Prof Karega Mutahi, regretted that some school heads are still administering what he described as tortuous and cruel punishment on students.

He said such punishment amounts to abuse of human rights and teachers still using this outdated method of disciplining students must stop.

He said his ministry has received numerous complaints about teachers who continue administering harsh corporal punishment on students.

Mutahi said the number of such complaints which are being received from the National Commission on Human Rights were alarming and needed to be curbed.

The PS said there has been an outcry from parents, human rights activists and sponsors over excessive corporal punishment in schools. He said that though it was fundamental to maintain a high level of discipline in learning institutions, principals should engage on consensus building when resolving students' problems instead of rushing to expel them.

"Let us not rush to expel students before we conduct thorough investigations so that we can fully appreciate the magnitude of the challenge, its source and the available options in handling it," Mutahi.

He further asked the teachers to give the offending children a chance for rehabilitation instead of subjecting the children to punishments that violate the Children's Act 2001 and human rights in general.

The PS was addressing school heads from Central province during the official opening of a three-day workshop for head teachers from Central Province at the Secondary School Heads Association annual conference in Nyeri.

He further accused the heads of forcing students who perform poorly in exams to repeat classes against their will.

"No person has any right to force any child to repeat in any class or register them in a another school. This is immoral and should never be done by any head teacher whether in public or private school," Mutahi said.

Copyright 2004 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.

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