Caning not magic bullet

What you need to know:

  • There is a need to test students for drug abuse and isolate those culpable.
  • Guidance and counselling also needs to be reintroduced.

Since schools reopened several weeks ago after nearly 10 months of Covid-19-enforced closure, rogue students have been on the rampage.

These undisciplined learners have set their own dormitories, classrooms and other school facilities ablaze, in a shocking wave of destruction sweeping across the country.

It must be stopped, as it is getting out of hand and the restoration or reconstruction of these facilities will cost a lot of money, which the schools do not have. Neither their parents nor the government have the funds to replace what is being destroyed in the orgy of violence.

The unruly students have also assaulted their own teachers, badly injuring some of them.

As this continues, the man directly under siege is Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, from whom answers are expected.

The CS is clear in his mind on what needs to be done. He wants corporal punishment restored to stem the runaway indiscipline.

Corporal punishment

Desperate situations call for desperate measures, and CS Magoha is not mincing his words on how to tackle this monster that is rearing its ugly head in the education system once again.

Though conceding that caning students is atavistic, he is convinced it is the best way to rein in the students, “who have grown horns”. He is reading from the old-fashioned saying, spare the rod and spoil the child.

It will be recalled that corporal punishment was outlawed after being found to have adverse effects. The decision should, therefore, not be so hastily reversed.

Caning was outlawed in schools in 2001, and Section 191 (2) of the Children’s Act clearly stipulates that no child offender shall be subjected to corporal punishment. 

There is a need to urgently brainstorm and come up with more comprehensive measures and restore sanity in schools. Caning is not the magic bullet.

There is, for instance, a need to test students for drug abuse and isolate those culpable. Guidance and counselling also needs to be reintroduced.

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