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Video clip: Caning of girls and boys at school

Girls and boys caned in schoolyard

With notes by C. Farrell

Although there are ministerial directives against it, corporal punishment is lawful in Ghanaian schools, and anecdotal evidence suggests it is in widespread use.

 This one-minute clip (from c.2011) is set in a secondary schoolyard and shows a teacher holding not one but two thin rough-and-ready canes, one in each hand.

 He seems to be lashing out in a rather disorganised fashion, caning boys and girls indiscriminately. The strokes are mostly applied somewhat approximately to the buttocks, but occasionally to the hands.

 The atmosphere is jocular, and the scene looks more like a game than a real punishment, with various students coming forward quite randomly and seemingly voluntarily to be caned, almost as if they are challenging the teacher to whack them and then trying to jump out of his reach. As so often in Africa, there is no real modus operandi: the students are just standing up straight and not keeping still, so there can be no attempt at accurate targeting. This event cannot, therefore, be described as proper formal corporal punishment.


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