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School CP - July 2003

Corpun file 11772

New Vision, Kampala, 2 July 2003

Teachers Warned On Corporal Punishment

ATTENTIVE: Some of the 50 teachers of St. Kizito P.S. listening to Otyek yesterday

By John Eremu

THE Education Standards Agency has given a final warning to teachers who administer corporal punishment to pupils.

The agency's deputy director, Moses Otyek, said corporal punishment, particularly caning, was banned in 1997.

He said the agency will not hesitate to de-register any teachers who perpetuate the practice, and submit their names to the Police for criminal prosecution.

"This is the last warning," Otyek said. "If any parent reports that his or her child is caned, then you are out of the register. The headteacher and the deputy will be the first to pack because they are condoning the practice," Otyek said in a stern address to St. Kizito Primary School teachers yesterday.

Otyek, who made a surprise visit to the Catholic Church-founded school near Bugolobi, in Kampala said they had since 2001 received consistent reports of caning at the school, including two incidents last week where a pupil collapsed in the course of punishment, while another was slapped and bled profusely through the nose.

"This is the last warning. If the administration doesn't wake up, we shall not hesitate to recommend the closure of this school. You can turn it into a hospital. Guiding and counselling are the tools for problem-children not caning," he said.

The headmistress, Ms. Pasqua Lakot and the deputy, Florence Mauso, attended the 11:00am meeting. They apologised and promised to stamp out the practice.

"We are going to take your advice seriously and improve. We recognise any mistakes and are sorry," Lakot said.

 Copyright The New Vision 2000-2002. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 11782

New Vision, Kampala, 7 July 2003

I Was Caned 58 Times In School


By Juliet Nsiima

I watched a movie in my brother's room on his bed. Because it was interesting, I had to sit on the carpet to concentrate. Suddenly, I felt a sting on the right side of my rear end. I ignored it. I got stung again. This time I jumped up to survey myself. As I felt my behind, I got stung a third time! I dashed to my room, stripped naked and found a peculiar black ant clinging on to my butt! I crushed it and changed into new clothes.

I remembered the first time I felt my bottom in this agony. It was the first week of my second term of Primary Six at Kampala Parents' School. That day I was caned fifty-eight times by the school's headmaster, Mr. Edward Kasole Bwerere. Why? I had got 42 percent in my civics examination. Add 58 to 42, you get a hundred percent. After the caning, I customarily thanked him for caning me. I did this quickly because my tears were in my throat and were about to burst out of my eyes. Sometimes, if we cried, we were caned further for rejecting discipline, mbu, 'No Pain, No Gain.' After that, I cursed Mr. Kasole. I asked God to cut off his hand so that he would never cane another pupil. Surprisingly, the following year, he stopped caning us because he had had a mild stroke. I quietly thanked God for answering my prayers.

However, Mr. Kasole was a hilarious man. He used to assure us at assembly he was the only civilised man in Uganda, because he carried three handkerchiefs. One in his right trouser pocket, the second in the left trouser pocket and the last one was decoratively folded in his left breast pocket.

Was that the criterion for a civilised person?

The canes were the semi-wet bamboo sticks. Those sticks delivered the best stings compared to others, wet or dry.

When I was caned with a bamboo, I asked God why he never brought panda bears to Uganda. I mean, they would have eaten all the bamboo trees before I was born.

Anything warranted a cane at school. When I walked too slow, when I ran fast, when I talked too much in class and when I decided to keep quiet.


 Copyright The New Vision 2000-2002. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 11775

New Vision, Kampala, 14 July 2003

Why caning is an issue

OUCH! A senior student being caned in the presence of parents for bad behaviour

The Education Standards Agency has come out strongly against corporal punishment in schools. But teachers say that they should be given alternatives to deal with unruly students. Education Vision's Joan Mugenzi reports

THE Education Standards Agency (ESA) recently came out sternly saying that the agency would not hesitate to de-register any teacher who perpetuates the practice of corporal punishment. The culprits' names would be submitted to police for prosecution.

The Ministry of Education and Sports banned corporal punishment in schools in 1997, but some teachers still continue to do it.

ESA defines corporal punishment as any form of punishment that inflicts pain on the child. They cite beating, kicking and slapping as examples.

The Catholic-founded St. Kizito Primary School in Bugolobi is only a case in point that teachers still find it hard to do away with their old habits of corporal punishment.

A teacher from St. Mary's College, Kisubi, remarked that some teachers do not know what to do.

"There is no component of how to punish students in any of the education curriculum," he remarked. "Most likely teachers do punish students, using their own experiences and they do not know what the limits should be," he observed.

A deputy headteacher of a Kampala-based primary school who preferred anonymity says that ESA needs to come up with alternatives.

"They go out and tell you that you should not cane students and then they tell you that you should also not use manual labour. It becomes very involving for a teacher. They should suggest alternatives," he says.

Moses Otyek, the deputy director, ESA says teachers must not only think about caning.

"Right now I have just punished a notorious pupil in a school here in Tororo. All I told him to do was to run around the field and apologise before a class.

"Fellow pupils laughed at him and he was truly humbled. This is just an example of an alternative," he said.

Rose Izizinga, head of Makerere College School, says she is not an expert, but believes that most people resort to caning because it is instant, quick and does not involve a lot of time.

"If I am going to detain you, I must be around to supervise. May be that is why some teachers resort to caning. Psychology plays a big role when administering punishment," she says.

Ronald Ddungu, a teacher at Gayaza High School, says there should be no argument for corporal punishment.

"Has there been any research done to show that corporal punishment makes a student better, or does it just make things worse?" he queries.

"Helping a student is about reinforcing the good, and in turn you will be destroying the bad," says Ddungu.

"The reason why people opt for corporal punishment is because they are not patient. Motivation is the key. A person who uses corporal punishment most likely does not vary the methods of teaching," he adds.

For students who are notorious or stubborn, Ddungu says there is need for a system in school for counselling and guidance.

"In most schools, they don't take off time to assign a certain teacher to follow up a notorious student. Stubborn students are always few and there should be a system of trying to help them."

"Stubborn children normally seek attention, love and they need to be listened to," he notes.

Otyek agrees with Ddungu that counselling is the most effective method. Ironically, Otyek also observes that not enough has been done to enrich the curriculum in teacher training colleges.

He points out that in the National Teacher Training Colleges (NTCs) there are only eight hours of counselling in the two years of training.

"This is not even proper counselling," says Otyek.

He observes that what does look like counselling has more to do with career guidance than counselling.

Makerere College School has a trained counsellor, but this is because the school can afford to pay her.

"I have seen some improvement especially when it comes to affairs in the school," says Izizinga.

"I have also seen students with outstanding behavioural problems make positive change. Such services are needed. I wish we could employ two people. Teachers are confident referring students to a counsellor," she says.

A teacher in a private primary school in Kampala, says counselling is good, but it should not work in isolation but with punishment.

"At times you are forced to cane a pupil. Whereas for one pupil sending them out of a class for 40 minutes will affect them, for another the cane will work to get them on course. Of course you don't beat the child excessively," he says.

This teacher also argues that alternative punishments, especially those that demand for more time with the pupil are easy with small numbers.

"Big classes are very difficult to handle. It is not easy to deal with students as individuals unlike classes of 30, where we even have two teachers for a lesson," he says.

Under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) the teacher:pupil ratio (PTR) is 1:56.

This is the figure in the Education sector six monthly report, October 2002-April 2003.

But this varies from school to school. There are some schools with classes of 100 especially in popular schools.

 Copyright The New Vision 2000-2002. All rights reserved.

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