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School CP - August 1998

ANC Newsbrief, 13 August 1998

Corporal punishment request to be discussed by Education Ministry

PRETORIA (Sapa) - A request by Northern Province teachers for the return of corporal punishment would be discussed at senior management level, the Education Ministry said on Thursday.

"However, the government's position remains unchanged - we have no intention of bringing back corporal punishment," said ministerial spokesman Bheki Khumalo.

"It is abolished by the SA Schools Act, and only Parliament can change that."

The Education Department in a statement said it had received a request for the reintroduction of corporal punishment by Northern Province teachers concerned about a lack of discipline in schools.

The message was conveyed to Deputy Education Minister Smangaliso Mkhatshwa when he visited schools in the province earlier this week.

"Father Mkhatshwa said although he appreciated the educators' strong feelings on the issue of corporal punishment, he personally did not believe that punishment was the only solution to the classroom disciplinary problem," the statement said.

He undertook to convey the request to Education Minister Sibusiso Bengu.

Teachers also complained to Mkhatshwa about overcrowded classrooms and a lack of school inspections, among other things.

Corpun file 5184

East London Daily Dispatch, 27 August 1998

Threat to spread school boycott

By Zingisile Mapazi

EAST LONDON -- Class boycotts at 34 Mdantsane high schools near here continued yesterday with student leaders threatening to spread their action to every school in the area, including primary and pre-schools, until the government accedes to their demands.

Effective education ground to a halt on Tuesday when pupils began their stayaway from classes following a call by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas).

Cosas grievances include rampant gangsterism in schools, the shortage of teachers and lack of text books and other resources.

Mdantsane Cosas leaders yesterday vowed to continue with their "no teacher, no textbooks, no classes" campaign -- even if it meant not sitting for final-year exams -- until demands were met.

The organisation's branch chairman, Mzukisi Ntsheyiya, said the government's neglect of disadvantaged schools was a major contributor to the high failure rate in the country's townships.

"The continued paying of salaries to teachers suspended for corruption, as well as corporal punishment which is still prevalent in most schools, does not help the situation."

The department's regional spokesman. Mongameli Malolo, said all 34 Mdantsane high schools were affected by the boycott and a meeting between the department and the pupils had been scheduled for today to try to solve the problem.

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