corpunWorld Corporal Punishment Research   :  Archive   :  1998   :  ZA Schools Apr 1998



School CP - April 1998

Cape Argus, 1 April 1998

Education chiefs ponder how to spare rod

Grahamstown - High-ranking education officials meeting in Port Elizabeth have discussed alternative means of discipline in schools.

With corporal punishment constitutionally abolished by the South African Schools Act of 1996, a whole new approach to education in the country was in the process of being developed, said Blade Nzimande, MP and chairman of the standing committee on education.

He was addressing a group of representatives from 160 schools in the Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, Despatch and Kirkwood districts.

The new approach included alternative means to discipline pupils, and the implementation of a code of conduct that teachers could follow.

Meanwhile principals, teachers and parents must work in close collaboration on establishing a "new morality and type of behaviour", after a centuries-old system of education that had allowed the use of physical punishment to establish discipline had finally fallen away, he said.

Witwatersrand University education policy unit lecturer Salim Vally suggested alternatives that could be practically implemented, based on a "principle of modification of behaviour".

Teachers should aim at discouraging bad behaviour before it could begin, he told the gathering. ECN

Eastern Province Herald, Port Elizabeth, 1 April 1998

Corporal Punishment

Bending the truth

Arguments against corporal punishment at this week's conference on alternative disciplinary measures seemed to feed off the notion that the act of caning is both violent and ineffective.

These positions were presented by high-powered speakers as fact, so they should be challenged.

Those in favour of "bending" in our schools -- many of which are struggling under the yoke of indiscipline since corporal punishment was outlawed -- have to fend off arguments like that of educational policy researcher Salim Vally, who subtly linked caning to apartheid and a "Christian national education system of dominance".

What nonsense to even suggest it was an apartheid instrument or a South African invention. Corporal punishment was used throughout the world long before the Verwoerd era. Does Vally know that?

He said corporal punishment fed off violence and reproduced it through the school system. More political hogwash and a sorry denial of the true causes of our sick society, among which are rebelliousness, disrespect and contempt for the law.

ANC MP Blade Nzimande claimed corporal punishment was not effective as it had to be used repeatedly on the same pupils for the same offences.

Does he know of some miracle once-off fix? Let's get real.

Corporal punishment is not the complete answer. It is one option among many. Anyone who has been caned knows that it is an experience to be avoided -- simply by toeing the line. That makes it effective.

It should be used sparingly and under strict supervision. But to liken its use to the malicious intent of any form of real violence is nonsense.

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