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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2000   :  ZA Schools Jan 2000

-- THE ARCHIVE --


SOUTH AFRICA

School CP - January 2000



Daily News, Durban, 4 January 2000

Bring back cane for better marks: union

By Farook Khan

Bring back the cane to get better matric results - that is what the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers' information officer, Mike Tlhapane, said in a hard-hitting statement in Durban on Monday night.

The union's view, he said, was that the Government had to review its corporal punishment policy and must not exclude the re-introduction of a couple of strokes on the bum of an undisciplined pupil.

He flatly blamed the Government for the "disastrous" matric results and said that there had to be a serious flaw in policies which reaped such terrible results.

Tlhapane urged the Government to bring back corporal punishment, saying that taking away the cane had "disempowered" teachers.

"The Government eroded discipline by declaring that corporal punishment in schools is a criminal offence, without coming up with alternatives.

"This policy in itself has resulted in the disempowerment of teachers and inculcated a spirit of disrespect for teachers by pupils - which has made the sight of school pupils loitering in the streets during school hours very common in South Africa, in school uniform for that matter," said Tlhapane.

He then hit out against the Government for failure to deliver and late delivery of books, for its "liberation before education" policy and for giving protection to "naughty little boys" who went to school with weapons.

He then congratulated teachers for a job well done and encouraged them to battle for discipline among children.

The union sent its best wishes to those pupils who passed.

Tlhapane then took issue, especially with Free State Premier Winkie Direko and Zachariah Tolo, the Northwest Province's education minister.

He said Direko should issue teachers with canes and not blame them for the poor results.

Tlhapane said Tolo and his colleagues should "bury their heads in shame" for the poor showing of pupils in their province.

He said under apartheid, matrics had a 60 percent pass rate; now under democracy it was less than 50 percent.

"No wonder the Congress of South African Students recently demanded an apartheid-type examination for the 1999 school year.

"It seems they, too, have come to the realisation that education under apartheid was better than it is now," said Tlhapane.

And in a special message to those matric pupils who did not make it, he urged them to forget about the Government's "empty promises" and to work hard.




Daily Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, 14 January 2000

'Bring back the rod'

The KwaZulu-Natal education MEC has blamed the ban on corporal punishment on her province's poor showing in the matric exams

By Paul Kirk

IN the week that President Thabo Mbeki vowed to crack the whip over South Africa's teachers, some of his provincial colleagues appear to have been taking his stern words a little too literally.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Eileen Nkosi Shandu this week called for the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools, while commenting on the poor showing of KwaZulu-Natal schools in the 1999 matric exams.

Shandu -- a stern disciplinarian who is often nicknamed "big stick" -- said since caning was outlawed in 1994 schools had been left without any effective form of disciplining children, and that learning had suffered as a result of the move. "The removal of corporal punishment was just a political statement since it had to go with [the introduction of] human rights," said Shandu.

The fiery Inkatha Freedom Party education boss said she was worried that discipline was falling apart at schools as pupils no longer feared -- or even respected -- their teachers. The situation had reached crisis proportions, she said, adding the school system was in danger of falling apart. She flatly blamed the poor matric results on ill discipline and said this was the major reason why 17 KwaZulu-Natal schools had recorded 0% pass rates. As a whole KwaZulu-Natal had recorded only a 0,4% improvement on matric results.

Shandu is not the only prominent educationist calling for corporal punishment to be reinstated. Mike Tlhapane, representative of the National Public Service and Allied Workers' Union, also called for six of the best -- and claimed that under National Party apartheid pupils had a better education.

Tlhapane pointed out that under apartheid, and corporal punishment, matrics had a 60% pass rate -- 10% higher than at present.

Echoing the words of Shandu, Tlhapane said: "The government eroded discipline by declaring that corporal punishment in schools is a criminal offence without coming up with alternatives."

Tlhapane said that Free State Premier Winkie Direko, who blamed teachers for her province's poor results, could best improve them by issuing her teachers with a few bamboo rods: "We need to stop being kind to naughty little boys and blaming disempowered teachers. We need to bring back the stick and get things in order."

But the disciplinarians are unlikely to be heard by the government. Bheki Khumalo, a representative for Minister of Education Kader Asmal, told the Mail & Guardian the government was not reviewing the use of the rod and warned that any teacher using corporal punishment would be liable to be charged with assault. Said Khumalo: "Learners, and their parents, are entitled to lay charges against individual teachers if they are caned. Corporal punishment is illegal, and the Constitutional Court has made a ruling that it is unconstitutional. There can be no debate on the matter."

Khumalo said that South Africa had endured too much violence and that there were ways to discipline learners without hitting them.



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Colin Farrell 2000, 2002
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