Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Majority of stakeholders in education as well as students have proposed that corporal punishment( beating or canning) should be deleted from the school code of conduct.
Hopefully this would put to rest the debate on the call to stop the use of physical punishment in schools.
These findings came out during the presentation of the State of the Corporal Punishment report, a research project undertaken by the Ghana Education Service (GES).
Those in favour of a total abolishment claimed corporal punishment inflicted pain and sometimes injuries on schoolchildren and as a result, some school children dropped out of school while it discouraged others from learning.
Presenting the findings in Accra recently, the Director of the National Centre for Research into Basic Education (NCRIBE), Dr Richard Ofori, said when the question of whether corporal punishment be banned in Ghanaian schools was posed, respondents from junior high school (JHS) Form One and Two were equally split between yes or no.
Those in primary four, five and six, however supported the ban. While parents, teachers and some Circuit Supervisors were also in favour of not banning corporal punishment in schools, he said.
Dr Ofori said when some of the students were asked to state how corporal punishments were meted out to them in school, they disclosed that some teachers usually called them during assembly and gave them strokes of cane on their buttocks, palms, finger tips and head. Others were also put on tables and held down firmly by big boys in the school and canned mercilessly.
For students who were in support, he said the students themselves claimed some of their colleagues were very rude and disrespectful and, therefore, the best way to reform them was to cane them.
Besides, those in favour were of the view that caning sometimes enabled students to stay focused on their studies since no child would want to be humiliated in the presence of the whole school.
During a discussion after the presentation, some stakeholders were also of the view that corporal punishment should not
be banned completely. They explained that there should be a little room for punishment when children go wrong, as that would deter other children from committing similar offences in future.
When the Junior Graphic went round some of the schools to seek their views on the issue, some were totally against it especially, those in the private schools while others were for it. For instance, Judith Amoah Mensah of the Happy Kids School at Awordshie in Accra said corporal punishment should be abolished completely. “If teachers want to punish us for doing the wrong thing they can ask us to write 100 or more lines in an exercise book that ‘we shall not do that again’ rather than treating us like animals” she lamented.
A student of the Ayalolo Junior High School in Accra who remained anonymous was for it explaining that, in their school for instance some students try to fight back at the teachers whenever they go wrong as a result corporal punishments is very good to deter students from stealing, cheating during examination and fighting in school.