01 July 2017

N/R : GES Bans Corporal Punishment In Schools

By: Abraham Njonaan Nlenkiba


Ghana Education Service (GES) has banned corporal punishments in all schools across Ghana. A letter issued to the Nanumba District Office of the Ghana Education Service from the regional directorate of the service on behalf of Director General dated in April, 2017 and pasted on the notice Board charged all teachers and schools to stop meting out corporal punishments to pupils and students in all levels of formal education in Ghana.


Corporal punishment is the type of punishment that inflicts pain into the body of an individual, under this ban, no teacher in the classroom is supposed to Cain, bully, pull the ears of any pupil or student, make pupils to lie flat and stare at the scorching sun, and to make the pupils crawl on their knees.


The GES aim of placing this ban is to implement the children’s act of the United Nations’ Act on the Rights of a Child; an excerpt of the provision of the act includes the following:
“All children have right to a primary education, which should be free. Wealthy countries should help poorer countries achieve this right.


Discipline in schools should respect children’s dignity. For children to benefit from education schools must be run an orderly way-Without the use of violence.Anyform of School discipline should take into account the child’s human dignity, discipline practices involving physical or mental violence, abuse or neglect should be stopped”.

Teachers of Ghana over the years have resorted to the use of corporal punishment as form of disciplinary measure to deter the pupils and students from breaking school rules and regulations, they used to cain, punish to kneel down, pull the ears of the pupils, bully by colleague students (Seniors).


In Senior High Schools there use to be this practice called “newnos night” where all newly admitted students of Senior High Schools go through an initiation ceremony where the students are dressed in funny ways, soak gari and mixed with stones and ask the “newnos” to eat. Under this directive, no school or teacher or senior is allowed to engage in these practices again.

The common disciplinary measure used in most schools in Ghana is corporal punishment, which has been used since the inception of formal education in Ghana, caning is used to control laziness in pupils who do not do class exercises and assignments, lateness to school, fighting other pupils, dodging school activities, playing truancy, sleeping in class during lessons, making noise in the class to mention but a few.


The demands of this ban means that no teacher or school can mete out this to any pupil or student who engages in these indiscipline acts. This may breed indiscipline in schools because teachers would relax and allow pupils and students to do whatever they want in the school.


The writer through interview granted to some head masters in Bimbilla Township was not against the policy but ask what could replace the normally used corporal punishments in School.


One of the Headmasters, Mr.Wumbei Mohammed of Bimbilla Junior High School lauds the directive but wonders what would happen to the discipline in School since GES has not make alternative punitive measures to replace the corporal punishment, he mentioned areas where corporal punishment corrected them when they were young, according to him, they were used to be caned when a pupil or student does not do his or her home work given, lateness to school and noise making in class.


This always created fear in them to do their home works and to wake early to bath and go to school, this he said promoted discipline in school but with the ban, he wonders what a teacher would do to a pupil who does the above in this time of advanced technology where pupils and students prefer doing different things at home instead of concentrating on their academic work.

Another Headmaster,Mr.Ali Yakubu of Lepusi Primary School says that, the policy is not bad since it is from the above, they had to comply but he was however worried as to what measure to adopt in disciplining the children, he gave a situation where he was in the classroom teaching and a Primary School pupil was seriously watching pornographic videos and pictures on a mobile phone, he said such a pupil need instant punishment such as caning to correct him and to deter others from engaging in the same act.


He also said most pupils and students only fear caning and if not that no matter what you say to them, they would never listen to you. He wished GES Could rather limit the number or the rate of corporal punishment to be meted out to pupils not to totally ban it.

Other Teachers interviewed on the policy said they are not aware of such ban and are not informed to. The question as to whether they have visited the office notice board since April this year; they responded that they have but did not read the notice board to see such directives.

Though the ban would cause some disadvantages but it is true that most corporal punishments in the Ghanaian schools are unwarranted. I remembered how I was wrongly caned in school for the crime I never committed, in those days some pupils were making noise in the class and a teacher came and caned all the pupils in the palm, after the caning I could not use that palm to hold a pen for the whole week ,another incident was when a student wrote an anonymous letter to the GES office from our School, all form three students were given 12 stokes of can on the bottocks,in fact on that day, I could not sit on the bicycle home.

The Schools have been asked to observe these rules in the act but the question is, is the same ban placed on corporal punishment at homes? If yes it means that our children may spoil as the Bible pointed out in the book of proverbs 13:24 that “he who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” this literary is explained as to discipline the children using a cane.


If United Nations’ Convention on the rights of a child really means to stop the children from corporal punishment, then Ghana as a member country still has a big duty to educate the families nationwide to create their awareness on this act to create the uniformity in its observation.

The post N/R : GES Bans Corporal Punishment In Schools appeared first on Mynewsghana.com.

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