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The Express, Dar es Salaam, 6 November 1997
NGO fights corporal punishment
By Abubakar Karsan in Mwanza
CORPORAL punishment in primary and secondary schools has been a major source of confrontation between teachers and parents.
This is the culmination of the fact that the Ministry of Education Guidelines on Corporal Punishment (1979) are grossly violated in spirit and word in the overall administration of school discipline.
Kuleana, a Non-Governmental organisation that promotes children rights which is based here in Mwanza, has made an exhaustive research on the abuse of corporal punishment in schools. The results are shocking.
Recently, during a seminar of District Education officers in Mwanza region, Kuleana presented their paper: "Key recommendations to the Ministry of Education on discipline in schools and the expulsion of pregnant school girls.
Arbitrary use of punishment has some impact and repercussions on the level of discipline in schools. These make some children fear schools and teachers.
This fear makes them not to concentrate on their lessons and according to child development process, this fear retards creativity and critical thinking, leading to make them dull and inept.
Children also lose trust and respect for their teachers and often develop bitter feelings towards them. This is especially the case when they are beaten for no reason, or are badly beaten and humiliated for small mistakes, or are beaten for no faults of theirs such as non-payment of school fees or being late to school due to lack of transport.
It is out of this background, that Kuleana is trying to take steps to eradicate corporal punishment in our schools. According to them they are going take two steps. First, they want to make sure that the National Corporal Punishment Regulations (1979) is fully adhered to; and secondly, fight for these regulations to be revoked.
For this purpose, they have recommended, during the DEOs seminar in Mwanza, that the Corporal Punishment Regulations (1979) be widely circulated, to each school in Tanzania as an official Ministry Circular requiring full adherence.
They also recommended that the Regulations be circulated in conjunction with a practical booklet explaining reasons for instituting the regulations and the harmful effects of uncontrolled corporal punishment as well as providing practical disciplinary alternatives to corporal punishment.
Sensitization workshops be held all over the country for REOs, Zonal School Inspectors and Principals of Teachers Training Colleges, so as to strengthen the teaching of administration of school discipline and the application of the National corporal Punishment Regulations.
Teachers who are in gross violation of the regulations be held responsible for their actions including taking court action against them or dismissal from their employment.
On expulsion of pregnant school girls, Kuleana asked the Ministry of Education to prepare and widely circulate, regulations explicitly stating the right of girls to continue with their education after delivery.
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