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School CP - April 2007

Corpun file 19042


New Vision, Kampala, 4 April 2007

RDC Canes Teacher

By Chris Ocowun

THE pupils of Patongo-Akwee Primary School in Pader cheered as the resident district commissioner (RDC), Santo Okot Lapolo, caned one of their teachers caught giving corporal punishment.

Lonzino Odora, a P4 teacher in his thirties, was beating three pupils for playing and making noise in class, when the RDC arrived.

Lapolo ordered the teacher to lie down before the pupils. To great excitement of the whole class, he beat him 12 times with a stick on the buttocks.

After caning the teacher, Lapolo ordered him to apologise to the pupils.

Patongo-Akwee Primary School is one of the UPE schools, located in Patongo sub-county, Agago county.

"The law of Uganda does not allow caning of pupils," the RDC told The New Vision. "As I was carrying out my routine tour of the district, I found Odora had lined up three pupils for caning and I answered him in the same way."

He said a few days earlier, he caught teachers of Omiya-Pacwa also giving corporal punishment to children, adding that it had become a habit in Pader.

The RDC told the rest of the teachers to desist from beating children and find alternative forms of punishment.

He urged the head teachers to make sure teachers do not cane children, arguing that it discouraged children in the camps from going to school. He also appealed to the sub-county leaders to sensitise the teachers.

Asked for a reaction, Pader woman MP Judith Akello Franca condemned the act of the RDC as humiliating to the teacher.

"This is very embarrassing for the teacher. How does he expect this teacher to continue teaching the same pupils?" she asked. "In fact it is a Police case. How can the RDC walk to schools and begin caning teachers?" Akello said.

Akello does not think it is wrong for teachers to punish pupils when they have misbehaved in schools.

She added that teachers in northern Uganda are suffering more than any other teachers in the country. "They should not be harassed by local leaders."

Copyright 2007 New Vision. All rights reserved.

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