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School CP - July 2003

Corpun file 11824

East African Standard, Nairobi, 21 July 2003

Bring Back the Cane, Says MP

By Kenneth Wepukhulu

Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Moses Wetangula has asked the Government to lift the ban on corporal punishment in schools.

Wetangula said the high cases of indiscipline in schools has been attributed to the lack of caning in schools.

He said there was "a great necessity" to lift the ban to instil discipline in schools because teachers are handicapped by "the suspension of the cane".

"The use of the cane is the most effective way of disciplining children in schools," added Wetangula.

He said the teachers are the foster parents of their students and should also have the same powers as the children's biological parents.

The minister was speaking during the Sirisia constituency education meeting held at the Bungoma Farmers Training Centre, Mabanga at the weekend.

He said teachers spent most of the time with the children compared to their parents and hence determine a lot in the student's life.

He asked the Government to substitute the stalled Kibabii Teachers Training College project with a Technical Training Institute.

The minister said technical courses were relevant for a booming economy.

Corpun file 11658

East African Standard, Nairobi, 28 July 2003

Teachers ignorant of Children Act provisions

By Dennis Lumiti

Several head teachers from Kakamega District have admitted that they are not aware of provisions in the Children Act that put them at risk of infringing the rights of students.

The head teachers told a seminar at Bishop Nicholas Stam Pastoral and Animation Centre, Shimalandut, that they were unable to access the document on the Children Act. It was enacted in 2001 to guide them in effective execution of their duties.

They said they were unaware of the various children's rights enshrined in the Act. They added that the only thing they know is that caning of students has been outlawed.

The head teachers were speaking at a seminar on Child Rights which was organised by a non-governmental organisation called Kazi Mashambani Development Programme (Kamadep). It is funded by Kenya Alliance for Advancement of Child Rights (KAACR).

Also present were Kakamega District Education Officer (DEO) Mr Henry Khalende, Kamadep Western Region Co-ordinator, Mr Maurice Isiye and KAACR Regional Manager, Mr Allan Were.

"We are only hearing from people about the Children Act but we are yet to reach the document and know what it is all about," said one teacher.

They said there are some mistakes made by teachers out of ignorance because some of them were yet to understand the penalties of some of their acts. The teachers pointed out that knowing the penalties was very important as it will prevent some teachers from violating the rights of children.

The DEO, who expressed his concern at the teachers' revelations, called on NGOs to sensitise teachers and other people to make them understand the Act.

Khalende said there are some teachers who still apply corporal punishment on their students even after it was outlawed. "If any teacher will be reported to have caned a student, he will be dealt with accordingly. This has been banned and is no longer fashionable. Already, several teachers in this area have been interdicted and prosecuted over corporal punishment," he added.

The DEO was speaking when he officially closed the four-day-long seminar.

Copyright 2003 . The Standard Ltd

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