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School CP - March 2009

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 Pretoria.

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 after school.

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 people surveyed.

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 2006.

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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