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School CP - April 2007

Corpun file 19079


East African Standard, Nairobi, 11 April 2007

Teachers Still Use the Cane

By Edith Fortunate

Teachers still use corporal punishment in schools even after the Government banned it through a legal notice, a new report says.

The 2001 legal notice effectively repealed another one that had introduced corporal punishment into the Education Act.

However, it has now emerged that caning in schools continues to be routine, arbitrary and often brutal.

"At times beatings by teachers leave children permanently disfigured, disabled or dead," the report published from the findings of a survey by the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), reveals.

The report, From Physical Punishment to Positive Discipline, says there is no evidence that discipline has become any better with corporal punishment.

Instead, the report, which is likely to put the public education sector in a spot over the proscribed mode of punishment, shows that in many cases, the schools where corporal punishment was rampant have the worst discipline records.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday at a briefing for the No Kiboko Day, that takes place Wednesday to coincide with the launch of the report, ANPPCAN Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Rose Odoyo, said teachers use cane, slap and whip to maintain discipline and improve poor academic performance.

The sections in the Education Act legal number 40 of 1972, gave provision as to how, when and by whom corporal punishment could be applied, including the size and type of cane to be used.

Sections 11 and 14 of the Act, as read then, provided corporal punishment could be inflicted in cases of grave neglect of work, lying, bullying, gross insubordination, indecency and truancy.

The Act also stipulated that corporal punishment could only be carried out by the head teacher, a teacher in the presence of the head teacher and in the case of a boarding school, a housemaster with the authority of a head teacher.

But the Education ministry banned corporal punishment after it realised it was being indiscriminately applied in schools and children suffered injuries and death in some instances at the hands of teachers.

However, most teachers have refused to put the cane away as they feel helpless and without authority over their students, says the report.

Copyright 2007 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.

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